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National Nut Tree Association

Fri, 27 Aug 2004

Dunedin Aims to Spearhead National Nut Tree Association

(Dunedin, Otago, 27 August 2004) Dunedin Rural Development (DRD) in conjunction with the Dunedin City Council is hosting a meeting for Gevuina Nut Tree growers interested in developing a national Gevuina Association. The meeting is open to all nationwide and will be held in Mosgiel on 18 September 2004. The Gevuina Nut Industry has developed significantly in the last few years with over 400 interested growers throughout New Zealand. This initiative is similar to DRD's previous endeavours, which saw the establishment of the New Zealand Commercial Hydrangea Growers Association in 2000, and other groups.

The original Gevuina Trees planted in 2000 have now yielded a small amount of nuts and they have been sent to Crop & Food Research, Invermay, and the University of Otago for analysis. Plant Extracts and composition of the Gevuina nut are rich in oils and have been identified by Chilean researchers as having particularly high value for health and cosmetic purposes. Researchers in Dunedin will define their fat and protein content and chemistry analysis to determine potential of the product sale.

The initial market for commercial Gevuina Nuts will be targeting the health food industry such as, breakfast cereals and chocolate manufacturing for pre dinner snacks. Other boutique markets may include processing into a "Gevuina butter" paste for high nutritional value, which can be on a par with peanut butter. The lipid content of Gevuina is comparable to that of rapeseed, sunflower and peanuts and protein content increases to 16%, after oil extraction. The oil is of a high quality for table oil, comparing favourably with olive oil although the high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids may require additional of stabilisers.

The estimated number of trees planted in New Zealand since 2000 is over 10,000, with the majority established in the South Island. However, to enter the international commercial market it would require at least 100,000 trees. The estimated yield of 5kg per tree, would give a total of 500,000 kg of nuts for sale per annum. One major user of nuts takes 20,000 kg a time.

The Gevuina Nut Industry is still in its fledgling stage, but due to the high numbers of nation-wide growers it is time to pull together a profile package for the Industry if it is decided to form a National Gevuina Growers Group.

Benefits of a national body will be the sharing of information on all aspects of the Industry, sourcing research requirements for the best varieties of Trees to grow, cross polinisation, spacing of trees, fertiliser requirements and types of soils among others that would benefit all growers. One of the main aims will be to promote growing Gevuina Nut Trees and successfully marketing the product for export.

The Gevuina Nut Growers meeting will be held on Saturday, 18 September 2004 at 1:30pm in the Downes Room, Mosgiel Public Library at 7 Hartstonge Ave., Mosgiel. For more information or to register contact Jon Muirhead, Dunedin City Council, at 03) 489 0040 by Thursday 16 September 2004.

ENDS

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