Agri Australis, a subsidiary of the Ferrero Group, has announced the establishment of a $70 million hazelnut production facility in the Riverina, providing up to 50 permanent and 50 seasonal jobs.
The announcement was made as representatives from the agriculture, environment and sustainability industries united for the presentation of Ferrero’s fourth annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report at the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney last week.
The report presents the Ferrero Group’s strategy for social responsibility and sustainability, reflects on its priorities for 2014 and establishes its longer term 2020 strategic vision. The CSR also confirms that the company is on track to achieve its goal of 100 percent sustainable certified cocoa by 2020, and 100 percent certified sustainable segregated palm oil by the end of 2014.
Verified by consulting firm Deloitte, the Report was awarded an A+ rating for the second year running from the ‘Global Reporting Initiative’ – a partner of the United Nations’ ‘Global Compact’.
NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, who officiated the gathering on 29 November, used the event to also congratulate Ferrero on establishing a tri-generation plant, “which powers more than half of the company’s factory at Lithgow where the famous Tic Tac and Nutella brands are manufactured for local consumption and export markets,” he said.
O’Farrell also praised Agri Australis’ investment in a new hazelnut crop in NSW, claiming “the Riverina would now become the hazelnut capital of Australia.” He said the new production facility will bring significant benefits to the NSW agricultural sector, which would see the planting of more than one million hazelnut trees on 2,000 hectares near Narrandera.
Planting is scheduled for next autumn with harvest in March 2018. This paves the way for the hazelnuts to be in full production by 2022.
Agri Australis will be using the venture, which will provide up to 50 permanent and 50 seasonal jobs, as a demonstration farm, illustrating the potential sustainability and profitability of the hazelnut business in Australia.