The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is on this month at the Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Ms Marie Piccone, Managing Director,Manbulloo Ltd joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Manbulloo – A Northern Australia Case Study – Conducting Business & Developing National and Export Markets.’


In 2005, along with several other shareholders I purchased 3 rundown mango plantations located on 3 separate sites across Northern Australia.

Over the last 13 years, Manbulloo has evolved from a fragmented, under resourced group of properties into a strategically positioned, innovative and vertically integrated horticultural business. We have developed and implemented two 5 year business plans and are currently implementing the next stage of our business plan. The journey has been focused but flexible, difficult but rewarding and many opportunities have arisen along the way.

All 3 Manbulloo business plans have focused on a “value chain” approach where consumer insights, relationships, efficiency, effectiveness and information flow are the pillars on which the business has “grown”, innovated and strengthened. Manbulloo’s commitment to risk management, strategic partnerships, branding, building a world class team and developing the capability and capacity to perform to world best practice have all been paramount.

Doing business and running a business in Northern Australia requires special attention to factors such as isolation, extreme heat and weather conditions, the difficulty of attracting people to work and live in remote locations and the limited services and supply options that are often the reality of being located in Northern Australia. The business is based mainly on mango production and the dynamic nature of seasonal conditions, markets, supply chains and inputs are strongly linked to success or failure. The annual and seasonal nature of harvesting and cash flow have also been key factors to manage.

In my experience, there are unique challenges and opportunities in Northern Australia.

Strategic thinking, risk management and innovation in many aspects of the business plus operational excellence demonstrated by a focused and committed team are all key to meeting these challenges and capitalizing on market and geographical opportunities.


Marie Piccone is the Managing Director and owner of Manbulloo Ltd. Manbulloo produces mangoes at 6 locations across NT and North Queensland and is the largest producer of Kensington Pride mangoes in Australia. Manbulloo also produces a significant volume of R2E2 and is a committed exporter into carefully selected global markets. Since purchasing Manbulloo in 2005, Marie and her team have increased yield by 300%, increased fruit packout from premium levels of 20 -30% up to 65 -85% depending on the location. Marie has more recently been recognized for her achievements and won the 2015 National Telstra Women’s Award for Entrepreneur of the Year.

In March 2017, Marie was inducted into the Her Business Australian Hall of Fame 2017. Manbulloo has been the proud recipient of Coles Supplier of the Year 2015 and many export awards (most recently AustKorea Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Food and Beverage 2017). Manbulloo is recognized for their innovative, collaborative relationship with Coles and their other partners in export markets, an intense focus on consumers and a commitment to innovation. Prior to purchasing Manbulloo, Marie had a consultancy business operating in Australia, New Zealand and Asia for 18 years. She is grateful that her first job after completing her University degree was as an Extension Officer with Queensland Department of Primary Industries based at Maroochy Research Station with an amazing team and some great mentors.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot, visit the conference website.