Almonds have been grown commercially on a relatively small scale for a very long time; but it appears that this nutritious nut is poised for some epic growth, both now and in the foreseeable future. Indeed global production is set to hit a record 1.3 million metric tons this year, and because 80% of these almonds are grown in California, it has become an important part of that high-poverty state's low-income Central Valley. During high-yield years, almonds are a profitable crop.
Increasingly used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, almonds are high in protein; and almond "milk" is really catching on as a dairy substitute in the U.S. Demand for this nut is rising. And despite what seems to be an overall increase in nut allergies these days, global annual growth is forecast to be about 4% until at least 2021. It all sounds just great. The trouble here is that too many of these almonds are grown in only one place, and that volatile weather, which is expected to increase as the climate warms, can seriously affect crop yields and therefore price and availability. More upstream supply chain diversity would be a good thing and this means that more nations need to get into the act.
Indeed big investors from places like Canada are seeding new almond plantations in almond-friendly places like southeastern Australia, which is a temperate, dry and very large swath of land. Hopefully this is only the beginning, as further diversification among supply chain growers will be better for the whole supply chain, excepting the growers in California who have been enjoying some fairly nutty returns over the years. Almond trees are sensitive organisms that take three years to mature, and so it will be a little while before we start seeing lower prices due to diversification of almond supply. Stay tuned.
Discussion: Are there any other regions around the world that might be suitable to grow almonds? Do a little research. Taking into consideration that the world is a volatile place are any of these places good opportunities for investment?
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