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Information @ a Glance

Growth and Cultivation
  • The Almond is a small deciduous tree belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae; an almond is also the fruit of this tree. The plant is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus within Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.
  • Almonds are members of the Rosaceae (rose) family, along with many other tree fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, plums, cherries, and apricots. Within the genus Prunus, almond is most closely related to the peach, and the two crops share the subgenus Amygdalus.
  • Almond flowers are nearly identical to peach and other Prunus flowers in structure, but light pink or white in color, and fragrant. Flowers have 5 petals and sepals, and many elongated stamens; the ovary is perigynous.
  • The wild form of domesticated almond grows in the Mediterranean region in parts of the Levant. Almonds must first have been taken into cultivation in this region. Before cultivation and domestication occurred, wild almonds were harvested as food and doubtless were processed by leaching or roasting to remove their toxicity.

Uses

  • As late as the early 20th century the oil was used internally in medicine, with the stipulation that it must not be adulterated with that of the bitter almond; it remains fairly popular in alternative medicine, particularly as a carrier oil in aromatherapy, but has fallen out of prescription among doctors.
  • Almonds can be processed into a milk substitute simply called almond milk; the nut's soft texture, mild flavour, and light colouring (when skinned) make for an efficient analog to dairy, and a soy-free choice, for lactose intolerant persons, vegans, and so on.
  • Almonds have long been an integral part of India’s cultural heritage, especially during festive periods and weddings. Traditionally, Indian parents feed their children almonds, believing that almond consumption promotes mental acuity. Indian consumers also commonly believe that almonds must be peeled and/or soaked prior to consumption, and often avoid eating almonds during the summer due to the belief that almonds heat up the body.

Production

  • Global production of almonds is around 1.5 million tonnes, with a low of 1 million tonnes in 1995 and a peak of 1.85 million tonnes in 2002 according to Food and Agriculture Organization. Major producers include Greece, Iran, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Turkey, and the world's largest producer, the United States.
  • In Spain, numerous commercial cultivars of sweet almond are produced, most notably the Jordan almond (imported from Málaga) and the Valencia almond. In the United States, production is concentrated in California, with almonds being California's sixth leading agricultural product and its top agricultural export. California exported almonds valued at 1.08 billion dollars in 2003, about 70% of total California almond crop.

Market Report

  • The EU accounts for about 31% of world total production. Spain is the main EU almond producer with 61.1% of EU almond production18. Italy is the second main European producer with 23.3%19 followed by Greece (12%) and Portugal (6.7%).
  • Asian markets represent significant marketing opportunities and growth potential for the promotion of almonds. China (including Hong Kong) is the tenth largest export market for California almonds and among the most promising in terms of long-term growth potential. India is the fourth largest export market for California almonds.

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