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Major olive oil producer Boundary Bend was voted Australia’s best agribusiness exporter as part of the 2007 Australian Export Awards in Brisbane in November.

The virgin olive oil maker beat wine giant Pernod Ricard Pacific, which produces Jacob’s Creek, and top meat exporter Tasman Group to win the award.

This prestigious award for Boundary Bend Limited follows recent successes including the 2007 Governor of Victorian Agribusiness Exporter of the Year, and the 2007 exporter of the year at the NAB Agribusiness Awards for Excellence.

Established in 1998, Boundary Bend has become Australia’s leading vertically integrated olive oil producer and marketer with more than two million trees under management and operations on seven different locations across Victoria including Boort, Boundary Bend, Lara, Mildura and Port Melbourne.

In 2007 Boundary Bend produced almost four million litres of premium Australian extra virgin olive oil, equating to more than 40% of Australia’s total olive oil production. The company exports about 50% of its crop, and achieved export value growth of 1400% on 2004-05.

Boundary Bend, along with the Australian olive industry, has overcome significant hurdles over the past fi ve years, including the recent changes to Managed Investment Scheme laws, drought, and excessive import tariffs to Europe where 70% of the world’s olive oil is consumed.

“The company’s success in the face of significant challenges is a testament to the quality of our extra virgin olive oil and the efforts of our 120 fantastic staff.

I am very proud of our entire team’s contribution that has enabled us to secure this prestigious award,” Boundary Bend’s executive chairman, Rob McGavin said.

He said the firm overcame a string of domestic and international challenges to get its product on shelves.

In 1999 Boundary Bend had to overcome some early teething problems when customs quarantine workers were forced to destroy 50,000 of the company’s imported Israeli olive trees. It nearly grounded the fledgling enterprise started by McGavin and Paul Riordan.

The company faced another hurdle nearly a year ago, sacking 20 workers in the face of losses after the abolition of Federal Government tax concessions.

“But it’s an emerging industry and who would have thought a top olive oil producer would come from Australia?’’ McGavin said.

Boundary Bend currently exports to over 15 countries and is a major supplier of bulk olive oil and value-added products under its Cobram Estate retail brand. The company says a key to its ability to grow and supply burgeoning overseas demand for extra virgin olive oil has been its strategic relationship with Timbercorp.

Boundary Bend was awarded the inaugural ‘Olive Grower of the Year’ in 2005 by the Australian Olive Association, and was the most-awarded producer in the 2005 and 2006 Australian extra virgin olive oil awards.