SUVARNABHOOMI FOOD PRODUCTS

Apples

The first of the year's apple production starts in February around Stanthorpe in Southern Queensland. Further south apples are grown around Bilpin, Orange and Batlow in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. The fertile soils, cool winter nights and irrigation systems in Victoria's Goulburn Valley around Shepparton makes it ideal as Australia's largest producing region of apples and pears, generally producing more than 30 per cent of the nation's apples and close to 90 per cent of the nation's pears. Tasmania has had a long history of apple production in its famously pristine climate and the moist south west of Western Australia are also important apple producing regions.

Grapes

Western Australia produces table grapes for the majority of the season. Grapes are one of the oldest edible plants to be cultivated, along with olives. Fossils indicate that the consumption of grapes dates back as far as 5000BC. Grapes were brought to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip, founder of the colony of New South Wales. He planted a small vineyard with cuttings from South America and South Africa as one of his first ventures in agriculture.

Almonds

The Australian almond industry is one of the fastest growing in the world and Australia is now the second largest producer in the world behind California.

The area of current production is 28,900 ha (2010) producing around 40,000 kernal tonnes (2011).By 2015 the area under production is expected to exceed 34,000 ha producing an estimated 85,000 tonnes.

Lentils

Lentil is one of the oldest domesticated crops. Originating in south-west Asia they have been used as a staple food since the beginning of agriculture. Lentils are small, bushy plants with several branches and frond-like leaves. They are free-standing and erect in the early stages of growth but may lodge in the late spring. Plant height may range from 15-75 cm although 25-40 cm is average. Lentils exhibit an indeterminate growth habit and so a single plant may have flowers, immature pods and mature pods at one time. Pods will contain one or two seeds. Lentils prefer loam to clay soils with a neutral to alkaline pH. Soil must be well drained as they do not tolerate waterlogging. They should be grown in areas receiving at least 350 mm annual rainfall. Lentils grown in Australia are divided into two groups based on seed size and cotyledon colour. Each have distinct users and markets.

Chikpeas

Chickpea was first grown in Australia as a commercial crop in Goondiwindi during the early 1970's. Chickpea are an important crop in northern farming systems and it has been the dedicated efforts of farmers, researchers and agronomists who have ensured its continued success. It was through their development and adoption of an effective management package that the threat of Ascochyta blight has been minimised. There are two groups of Chickpea - Desi and Kabuli, mainly distinguished by seed size, shape and colour. They also have different growth requirements, markets and end-users;