THE demand for hand sanitisers and cleaning products has spiked amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and one local farmer has retooled his entire farm to meet the growing demand.
The farm is operated under ‘Australian Natural Products’ and produces native Australian Lemon Myrtle which has natural antibacterial, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
When distilled into essential oils the plant can be used in personal hygiene and cleaning products including the highly sought after hand sanitiser.
Australian Native Products Agronomist Terry Mather says the farm has been kicked into full gear looking after the supply and demand of the lemon myrtle essential oil.
“The demand for the essential oil wasn’t a big part of the business before,” he said.
“The oil manufacturing has now exploded and has pushed to the front.
“It’s a good thing people can see the good properties of this oil.”
Australian Native Products CEO James Gosper says the demand has been so high for products that the companies’ entire Mareeba farm will now focus solely on the products in demand.
“The company has experienced a big jump in enquiries relating to hand sanitiser and a 70% increase for cleaning products as the world responds to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mr Gosper.
“In the space of a week, our Mareeba farm has gone from turning 95% of its harvested lemon myrtle into dried leaves, to distilling 100% of the crop into essential oil.
“Lemon myrtle has powerful antibacterial properties, is antifungal, antimicrobial and completely natural – all attributes that people are looking for right now.”
Mr Gosper also expects to produce more than 300 litres of lemon myrtle essential oil between now and June.