SANDIGO is a small location in the Riverina. It is also home to what could be one of the most influential hazelnut growing enterprises with a worth estimated at $70 million.
Producing hazelnuts is not core business in rural Australia but this is set to turnaround after the finishing touches were put into play on a Riverina project this week.
A company called Agri Australis, owned by Ferrero Group, has a pilot farm in the region. Some five years of planting has already set the foundations of the project.
Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley was at the farm this week to witness, and help with the planting of the final trees.
“It was great to be a part of this monumental occasion, which represents many years of hard work by Agri Australis, the local community and the nut industry,” she said.
The hazelnut farm will make a significant difference to developing the agri-business sector in New South Wales, and there is no doubt that Ferrero’s investment in the region will continue to boost the local economy through further jobs and opportunities.”
Agri Australis general manager Claudio Cavallini said everyone had worked extremely hard to complete the planting phase of the project and we’re all very proud to have reached the milestone.
The next phase for the large-scale demonstration farm is to support Australian growers to establish a local hazelnut industry by sharing technical know-how and trees from its nurseries.
Mr Cavallini said the company was committed to employing people in the local region and the outlook for the Riverina was promising. He said this region was well suited to growing hazelnuts and would help to meet the increasing demand.
Agri Australis will continue to work with the likes of Hazelnut Growers of Australia, farmers and the community to boost and develop the country’s hazelnut industry.
About Ferrero: Ferrero is a global company privately owned by the Ferrero family.
It was established in 1944 in Alba in northern Italy when the company’s founder Pietro Ferrero opened a small confectionary shop during the Second World War and used local hazelnuts to create appealing and affordable products.
The company has grown over the years to become the leading confectionery manufacturer in Europe and one of the largest in the world. The company’s products include market-leading brands such as Nutella, Tic Tac, Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Surprise and Bueno.
Ferrero expanded to Australia in 1974 and now employs more than 300 people across Australia and New Zealand. The company’s commercial headquarters are located in Sydney with its manufacturing operations based in Lithgow, west of Sydney, where Nutella and Tic Tac have been produced for more than 40 years.