It has been a busy 18 months for one of Australia's top mango producers, Manbulloo Limited who have acquired three new mango plantations and expanded into avocado and passion fruit production.
The three new farms have also expanded the mango varieties Manbulloo grows to include Keitt, Palmer and Brooks. This means that the Manbulloo supply window, which begins in late September in Katherine in the Northern Territory, now finishes in mid-late March with mangoes from the Atherton Tablelands.
"Customers are pleased that the new farms expand our production time frame and product range," Export Marketing and Communications manager Emily Ross said. “With these additional farms, we have been able to supply Kensington Pride and R2E2 mangoes for about 3-4 weeks later than previously, expanding the supply window for our most sought after varieties. We can now also supply significant quantities of late season varieties such as Keitt, Palmer and Brooks, which are harvested after the Kensington Pride and R2E2 mango harvests have finished. By extending our harvest season, we are now able to supply our customers with Manbulloo mangoes for 5-6 months of the year."
Manbulloo’s main late season variety, Keitt mangoes are mainly supplied to Coles, the company's domestic retail partner. Small volumes were exported during the 2017/18 season and the response was promising as the quality and shelf life was reported as “noticeably better” than Keitt mangoes from other countries.
"Increasing our supply capabilities for domestic and international growth is important to Manbulloo," Ms Ross said. "In South Korea, Canada and the U.S.A, demand for our mangoes is growing year on year and the future is looking expansive. The acquisition of our new farms and planting an additional 130 hectares of Kensington Pride and R2E2 trees in the Northern Territory will help us to meet the increasing demand for supply in these markets.”
The company's six plantations are located in some of the most pristine and beautiful parts of Northern Australia – Katherine in the Northern Territory, The Pinnacles and Horseshoe Lagoon near Townsville, the banks of the Walsh River and the edge of Mutchilba Valley in Far North Queensland. Managing Director Marie Piccone says Manbulloo has always recognised that the company has a responsibility to ensure that farming practices are sustainable and that it uses the earth’s resources as efficiently and thoughtfully as possible.
"We have always been inherently committed to living in harmony with our surroundings and enhancing our farm environments and the magnificent landscapes in which we live and make our living. We recognised that having an environmentalist as part of the Manbulloo management team would provide experience, skill sets and perspective that we didn’t previously have."
In early 2017 Manbulloo appointed Sarah Grogan as Environmental Manager. Sarah works closely with the Manbulloo management team spread across all six production sites on projects to increase energy efficiency. Current energy projects include renewable energy use, implementation of energy saving measures across all farms, especially electricity and gas, and creation of energy-use awareness among full-time and seasonal employees.
Ms Grogan does the crop monitoring at Manbulloo Katherine and is part of the project team working to improve efficiency and effectiveness of pest, weed and nutrition management. Sarah’s projects and focus also include waste management and recycling where we are seeing significant benefits and improvements in our operational practices. Ms Piccone believes that it is vital to have an integrated team that makes integrated strategic and operational decisions.
"I want our environmentalist to always be part of the decision making team," she said. "It is vital that she understands all the other aspects that need to be considered when we make a decision. Vice versa, our decisions must always consciously review environmental management and what is the best way forward overall. Having an environmentalist is taking our decision-making to a higher level, creating more awareness among the team and providing better support and input."
Manbulloo has wrapped up its 2017/18 mango season with the last trays of Brooks mangoes being dispatched from the Atherton Tablelands last week.
"This is a significant milestone for us," Ms Piccone said. "Delivering long lines of consistent quality, branded mangoes is an important part of what we have always aimed to deliver to our customers.”
Thanks to the longest harvest season to date, the beginning of the 2018/19 season in September this year does not feel too far away for Manbulloo.
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Phone: +61 7 3860 6990
Publication date: 3/26/2018
Author: Matthew Russell