Macadamia seedlings

About Macadamia Innovation ::

What is Macadamia Innovation all about?

Macadamia Innovation exists to provide commercial access to the new macadamia varieties bred by a series of projects funded by the levy across the last 20 years in Australia.

In total, over 20 lines went into regionally based growing trials with over 10 years spent in randomised trials in major growing areas in northern New South Wales and Bundaberg.  Once the final four varieties had been selected, trialled and assessed they were put into the Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) process to provide legal protection – essentially the plant version of ‘copyright’.

What is the levy that funded the breeding program and how is it administered?

In many Australian horticulture industries, a statutory levy is charged at a fixed rate across all sales of either the plant stock or the finished produce.  In the Macadamia industry the levy is as follows:

The macadamia nuts levy and charge rate comprises Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), marketing, NRS testing and research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Levy component Levy and charge rate
(From 1 April 2018)
EPPR 0.20 cents per kilogram
Marketing 16.01 cents per kilogram
NRS 0.63 cents per kilogram
R&D 8.57 cents per kilogram
TOTAL 25.41 cents per kilogram

The macadamia nuts levy and charge rate is calculated per kilogram of dried kernel. The charge on macadamia nuts is not payable if the levy has already been applied to the macadamia nuts prior to export. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies and charges.

Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for the Australian horticulture industry, and the Statutory levies that are raised by growers and collected by the Australian Government, are then passed on to Hort Innovation.

Hort Innovation then has the responsibility to work with each horticulture industry to make strategic investments in R&D and marketing programs, specific to their needs and priorities. All levy investments involve consultation with and advice from industry, delivered through industry-specific Strategic Investment Advisory Panels (SIAPs).

Once the money is invested, the Australian Government contributes to the costs of R&D investments by making a contribution using public money. Investments from marketing levies do not attract the same contribution from the Australian Government.

The benefits of the investments that are made go directly back to the industry from which the levy was collected, to support increased productivity, profitability, and competitiveness of the sector.

The Macadamia breeding programme was funded by the R&D levy.

Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund logo

Macadamia Fast Facts

  • Dated at around 30 million years old, the humble macadamia tree is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia.
  • Macadamia is the first Australian native plant to have been developed as an international food crop and is a major contributor to the national horticultural industry with a production value of over $193.9 million.
  • The oldest known cultivated macadamia tree is still standing in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and was planted in 1858.
  • They are a tough nut to crack: it takes 1,464 kg/m2 to break the macadamia nutshell making it the hardest of all nutshells.
  • Macadamia trees can take up to 5 years to grow their first nuts. But once they get started, they can keep producing for over 100 years.
  • While there are millions of healthy macadamia trees on farms, in the wild, they are an endangered species.

With thanks to Hort Innovation, Wikipedia & the Australian Macadamia Society for these fast facts.

Some useful links

Useful reading for new Macadamia growers