Almondco Australia growers are set to received an average return of $8550 a tonne for their 2014 crop.
Company managing director Brenton Woolston confirmed at this week’s annual general meeting in Adelaide that returns would increase by almost 30% on last year and be the second highest on record.
“The estimate is a conservative figure and we would hope that we can deliver this and a little more by the end of the season,” Mr Woolston told a packed room at the Grand Hotel, Glenelg on Tuesday.
“We are experiencing strong demand for almonds globally and as a result we have been able to increase grower returns for the past three seasons.”
Mr Woolston said the ongoing drought conditions in California had resulted in smaller than expected yields from the world’s biggest almond producer and added further pressure to pricing.
Mr Woolston told shareholders that the 2013 season, which officially closed on June 30, 2014, featured a number of landmark achievements:
· Record intake of 21,563 tonnes
· Record volume of sales 19,648 tonnes
· Record sales revenue of $151 million (up 93%)
· Improved grower return of $6780/tonne (up 34%)
Long time grower directors Andrew Lacey and Jim Pierson were both re-elected unopposed to the seven-member Almondco board during the meeting. (Under the company constitution the board must comprise of four grower directors and up to three independent directors.)
Almondco chairman Simon Lane paid tribute to the dedication and lengthy service of Mr Lacey and Mr Pierson.
Mr Lacey’s family has been directly involved with the company since his father Eric helped establish the co-operative in Willunga in 1944 while Mr Pierson has been a long time Adelaide Plains grower alongside his son Ben.
At the end of the meeting shareholders were treated to an address from esteemed Australian co- operatives historian Dr Gary Lewis on the benefits of co-operatives and resisting corporatisation.
He said that his life long research had developed a strong belief that being part of a well run co- operatives – regardless of size – remained the most sensible option for primary producers who were seeking to maximise returns while staying in control of their own destiny.