Harvesting is underway on macadamia orchards across Australia.. However, after record high prices in recent years, farmers are now facing financial troubles. In the past few years, the global oversupply has forced farmgate prices to plummet from more than $6 a kilogram nut-in-shell to below $2 this year.
Some growers have had to take off-farm jobs, cut back on orchard nutrition or bulldoze trees, while others have decided to sell up. Also, an estimated 20 to 50 macadamia orchards across the industry are on the market, valued at up to $100 million.
In the next five years, the global supply is expected to grow by two-thirds to 500,000 tonnes a year. Australian Macadamia Society chief executive Clare Hamilton-Bate said it would take time for the prices to flow through. "A lot of the stock we're seeing on the shelf in the supermarket would've gone into the supply chain at a higher price," she said.