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Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Richard Ray, Coo Of Pacific Farms

ACBC ( NSW ) Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Richard Ray, COO of Pacific Farms


Richard Ray is Chief Operating Officer at Pacific Farms which was established in 1980  and  is a major  grower and a processor  of macadamias. Richard oversees all aspects of the business from seed to mouth working closely with the Chinese processing partners.

Richard has management and consultancy experience particularly in sales, marketing, negotiating  and communications with global corporations including Unilever, Mars, Smith Snack Foods , George Patterson Bates , Young and Rubicam. He has international brand development experience with both Thai Airways and Garuda Indonesia developing their businesses  around the world.. 

Richard owned a small industrial tech start-up which he took from invention to international sales, before selling out to the inventor.

1. Tell us about your business and how you've leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?

Pacific  Farms is a grower, processor and marketer of macadamia nuts. We have been doing business in Hong Kong and China for 35 years and we have a joint venture in nut processing with the Rainbow Company that is 20 years old this year .Most of the processed macadamia kernel has been exported from China around the world. The recent explosion in demand for macadamia in China has allowed us to leverage our long term relationship in China to increase supply of macadamia to China and increase margins accordingly. 

2. What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

There is no typical day as the business is very dynamic and influenced by agricultural seasonality and uncertainty plus we source macadamias from multiple origins and market to many countries globally. The focus in any day is always on clarity of communication with our Chinese JV and the global network of customers and growers.

Currently I’m working on opportunities in the ingredients market which will require investment in new processing methods. Also developing new opportunities in Africa to supply macadamia to China.

3. What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

  • Effective communication
  • Relationship before revenue
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy 

4. How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?

Build understanding and trust in the evolving China. Ensure Pacific Farms long relationships and in-depth understanding of China is valued as the keys to achieving consistent and reliable business outcomes for everyone in the supply chain.

5. You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges - what's been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?

Building confidence in the food safety and food security of our Chinese processing. Overcoming perceptions held by many that China is an unreliable and unpredictability in business.

6. What's your motto/mantra?