THE Macadamia Industry has urged Kevin Rudd to educate the Chinese on the origins of the macadamia nut.With Chinese New Year looming, it came to the attention of Australian Macadamias that the symbol for macadamias in Chinese meant "Hawaii nut''.
So Australian Macadamia Society chief executive Jolyon Burnett called on the Government to help educate Chinese macadamia lovers of the true origins of Australia's native nut.
The Member for Griffith and former Prime Minister was urged to back local growers in a tweet from Lismore-based MP Janelle Saffin, Federal Member for Page, to inform the Chinese that the nut was all Aussie.
``Japan will pay more for Australian kernels because they appreciate the quality of the produce,'' Mr Burnett said.
After the First World War macadamias took off in Hawaii, but production began to fall in 2006 due to oversupply and depressed prices.
Outside of Hawaii and Australia, macadamias are also commercially produced in South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Colombia, Guatemala and Malawi.
Australia is now the world's largest commercial producer - with between $120 and $130 million worth of home-grown macadamia products exported each year.
Macadamias are Australia's fourth largest horticultural export under citrus, table grapes and almonds.
Asia is the largest export region, representing 40 per cent of all sales.
"With the help of the Government and our leaders, we hope that one day, the world will be able to recognise and appreciate that the worlds finest nuts home is our country,'' Mr Burnett said.
"Macadamias are the only native plant that has been developed and traded as a commercial food product with around 850 growers producing around 40,000 tonnes each year.''
Mr Rudd replied to Ms Saffin's tweet on Tuesday, agreeing to take the next step and discuss the matter in Canberra, giving the industry hope that macadamias would be rightfully recognised as Australian.
"With Chinese New Year just days away, there's no better time to let them know about local macadamias,'' he said.
Mr Burnett said the story of local macadamias began thousands of years ago.
"Growing naturally in the Australian rainforest, the nuts were regarded by the Aboriginal people as something very special and were often used in ceremonial gifts,'' Mr Burnett said.
"Today, Australia is the world leader in production, research, marketing and development, and is the largest producer and exporter.''