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The Miraculous Macadamia Muranga 20 Variety

Muranga 20 variety is hardy and adapts well in different climatic conditions and is becoming more popular due to its fast growth rate and increased production.

Muranga 20 variety has a lifespan of over 100 years.

A macadamia tree is an investment, as are many fruit and nut trees, taking 3 years after planting a grafted specimen before the tree produces a significant crop.

Macadamia nuts are a growing market and as such provide an attractive investment opportunity because it’s an easy crop to deal with. It’s not alternate bearing, has a low labour requirement and farmers get a return on their investment in about three to five years.

You will need rich well drained soil for best results. A good supply of nitrogen and potassium are needed to produce quality fruit. Addition of animal manure and compost as a regular side dressing throughout the growing season is recommended.

Keep the weeds away from competing for water and nutrients as this will increase the vitality of the tree and maximize production of the nuts.

Save on irrigation with Superb Organic Absorber

Kenya’s climatic condition is ideal for optimum macadamia production and the timing of this project to coincide with the rising global demand is not a coincidence- rather a calculated move to help local farmers prosper.

Demand in the global market is rising and outstrips supply. There lies an opportunity for Kenyan farmers to take advantage and be part of this global boom.

According to Oxfarm Ltd, an acre of land will hold to 70 Macadamia trees. This could earn a farmer, going by the minimal returns of Ksh150 per kilogram of nuts Ksh1,050,000 per acre if a farmer harvests 100Kg per tree, depending on farming practices and favorable climate. At the primary harvest, that comes 3 years after transplantation of seedlings, a farmer will get between 30kg and 50kg, reckoning on the range and the attention given to the trees. Production will increase with each harvest.

To order Muranga 20 variety seedling contact 0706 222 888.

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Ways to eradicate Pest and diseases in macadamia farming

Oversight.

The macadamia nut tree goes back to Australia and it was introduced in Kenya between 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, macadamia grows in the same climate suitable for growing coffee. The macadamia nut trees remained almost totally unknown in Kenya until after independence in 1964 when a Kenya farming family, Bob Harries and Peter Harries started multiplying the trees in a seedling nursery, planting them on their farms and selling some to other interested farmers.

Basic Requirements

The tree thrives best at 0-2000m attitude and grows to 9-20m a height and 45 cm diameter (dbh-diameter at breast height). The tree also grows best in areas with mean annual temperature of 15-29 Deg C. and mean annual rainfall of 700-2600 mm. It also requires well-drained soil which is fertile red loam or alluvial derived largely from basic igneous rock such as basalt with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Macadamia trees also don’t tolerate water and soil with high salt concentrations. They do well in drained loam and sandy loam with good organic matter content.

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Here are some of the pest and diseases that affect macadamia trees,

Pests and Rodents.  

Rats

rat chewed macadamia nuts

Rattus rattus damages 5–10% of the developing macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) nut crop each year. Extensive and persistent snap trapping significantly reduce rat populations and depredations on developing macadamia nuts. Also, many growers apply rodenticides to reduce rat populations in orchards.

Typical nut borer

They make holes by extensive tunneling through husk and shell and are visible when nut is cut open.

Remedy – Use resistance macadamia varieties.

– Application of appropriate insecticide.

Macadamia nut borer

macadamia nut borer

They make holes in husk of the nuts. Infested nuts drop off the tree prematurely.

Remedy – Difficult to control with an insecticide once the larvae have entered the nuts. Appropriate insecticide should be applied if green fallen nuts exhibit damage or live unparasitized eggs are present on the tree.

Diseases

Raceme blight

Causative agent; fungi

Symptoms. Small brown spots on flower petals which spread to flower stalks.

Remedy. Application of copper based fungicides during wet weather.

Phytophthora trunk and stem canker

Causative agent; phytophthora cinnamomi

Symptoms. Stunted and chlorotic young trees. Lesions girdle the stem. In mature trees there is dark discoloration of wood is visible. Dark cankers may extend from trunk at the soil line to the lower branches of the tree.

It spreads by water flash as the fungi survive in plant debris in soil.

Remedy. Plant disease free stock. Soils should be well drained. Apply protective fungicides to tree trunks prior to wet season.

Anthracnose

Causative agent; colletotrichum gloeosporiodes.

anthracnose in macadamia nuts

Symptoms; Black lesions on leaves and fruits. The lesions do not have clear, finite edges and often appear to merge with the green colour of the husk. These lesions can spread onto the nut. Husk rot can cause premature nut drop.

Remedy. Amistar Top (Syngenta) and Bellis (BASF) will both control the disease. Reduce inoculum by performing good orchard hygiene, for instance remove old nuts from the orchard floor and husks should be composted before using as mulch.

Husk spot

husk spot in macadamia

Chlorotic to yellow flecks on the husks which enlarge and develop tan brown centers’. Lesions may be covered in powdery gray spore masses during wet periods which mature into tough woody spots.

Remedy. Apply copper based fungicides. When planting go for varieties which are not susceptible to the disease.

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History and Future of Macadamia Nuts Farming in Kenya

The macadamia nut tree goes back to Australia and it was introduced in Kenya between 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, macadamia grows in the same climate suitable for growing coffee. The macadamia nut trees remained almost totally unknown in Kenya until after independence in 1964 when a Kenya farming  family, Bob Harries and Peter Harries started multiplying the trees in a seedling nursery, planting them on their farms and selling some to other interested farmers.

In 1969 -1971 Bob Harries Limited, a company founded by the late Robert Harries initiated a campaign to sensitize the Kenyan Government to commercialize macadamia nut growing and establish processing and marketing the edible nuts. The Kenya Nut Company Limited was formed in 1974. This company was appointed by the Kenya Government to spearhead and invest in the development of the macadamia nut industry in Kenya.

Basic Requirements

The tree thrives best at 0-2000m attitude and grows to 9-20m a height and 45 cm diameter (dbh-diameter at breast height). The tree also grows best in areas with mean annual temperature of 15-29 Deg C. and mean annual rainfall of 700-2600 mm. It also requires well-drained soil which is fertile red loams or alluvia derived largely from basic igneous rock such as basalt with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Macadamia trees also doesn’t tolerate water and soil with high salt concentrations. They are well-drained loams and sandy loams with good organic matter content.

Varieties of Macadamia Grown in Kenya

The most popular varieties grown in Kenya are Macadamia integrifolia and  Macadamia tetraphylla. The Macadamia tetraphylla is more adaptive to cooler climate and has rough-shelled bush nut while the Macadamia integrifolia has smooth nut surface and is adaptive to diverse agro-climatic conditions. In Kenya the two species grafts are used to produce a more improved variety which is now very marketable and in high demand. Macadamia Integrifolia is highly dominant in the commercial clonal production area. Hybridisation occurs freely between Macadamia intergrifoila and Macadamia tetraphylla.

In Kenya the bulk of selections being currently grown is from such hybrids such as KIAMBU 3, KIAMBU 9 and 5, MURANGA 12 and 20, KIRINYAGA 1 and EMBU 1. More selections are being developed from the research programs in K.A.R.LO. Thika. In Kenya, it grows in high potential areas of Eastern, Central and Rift valley provinces.

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Propagation

Macadamias are easily grown from seed, but the seedlings may take 8 to 12 years to bear a crop and the quality of the nuts is unpredictable. The wood of macadamia is hard, thus, requiring

the propagator to have experience to make it successfully. It’s important to note that seeds of Macadamia tetraphylla are collected and seedlings raised from them since it’s recommended as a rootstock due to its resistant to different rootstock diseases. The best seeds for propagation are mature seeds which are not more than 4 months old. The best pretreatment is nicking or soaking in cold water overnight before sowing in a seedbed or in pots/polythene tubes. If sown in a seed bed then transplant the sprouted seedlings from the seedbed to polythene bags when they are 2 cm in height. These seedlings are good as rootstocks if one is to graft. Grafting is the only option to obtain good varieties of fruit in a short period. The rootstock to be used for grafting should be usually seedlings of 9-12 months old with at least a diameter of 1-1.3 cm. The scion wood is girdled (remove a narrow section of bark on about 80% of the circumference of the twig) about 6 to 8 weeks before grating to promote accumulation of carbohydrates. The recommended graft method is a top-wedge grafting or chip budding. Softwood cutting and air-layering is also possible as propagation method. The scion wood can be either, but M. integrifolia is preferred for the best nuts production while the recommended rootstock is M. tetraphylla for its resistant to diseases. It’s important to note that M. tetraphylla is resistant to both macadamia trunk canker and anthracnose, grafting cultivars of M. integrifoila onto root-stock of M. tetraphylla minimizes these problems.

Spacing

The grafted seedling takes 3-4 months to be ready for planting out in the farm. Seedlings are planting out in the field at a spacing of 9m x 9m or 10 m x 10 m or more if the trees are intercropped with coffee or any other crop e.g. maize; however if they are been planted as pure orchard, the spacing should be 4m x 10 m or 5 m x 10 m.

Production of Macadamia in Kenya

Macadamia is pollinated by insects, as most cultivars are at least partly self-incompatible, planting pollinator trees and introducing bees are both important for good fruit set. After flowering the nuts takes about 6-8 months to mature. Some grafted varieties of macadamias begin bearing within 2 years-3 years.

A young tree raised from a seedling without grafting takes at least 7 years to fruit, while the grafted trees takes 2-3 years to start bearing fruits. The nuts turn brown when mature and one harvest by shaking the tree branches where by all mature fruits or nuts fall down. Sort out the mature nuts from the few immature which may fall down. One can also pick from the tree.

A good tree can yield 45-90 kg nuts on average per year. Harvesting is usually by manual collection of the nuts from the ground or Picking from the crown-picking the fruits which have cracked or turned brown. The husks are removed and the nuts are dried within 24 hours of harvest. Failure to do so initiates undesirable physiological activity which causes fermentation and spoilage. For the production of edible nuts it is important to dry the nuts from an initial moisture content of 45% to between 5% – 1.5%.

Market analysis of macadamia nuts in Kenya

The Kenya macadamia nut industry is currently made of approximately 2 million trees of varying ages from one year to 20 years, grown by over 200,000 small scale farmers with an

average of 6 -12 trees per grower. Annual production is about 10,000 metric tons of nuts-in-shell. These produce about 4000 metric tons of marketable kernels, making the main commercial product. Other by products such as oil, are minimal. Producers get from nuts-in-shell Shillings 1 billion per year.

Kenya is the third largest macadamia producer and the second largest exporter of macadamias. Many Kenyan farmers are integrating macadamia trees into their coffee and tea plantations. They view macadamia output as insurance against the uncertainties of weather which affect coffee and tea. Japan and the United States are the 2 largest markets, together accounting for almost 84 percent of Kenya’s total exports Macadamia.

Nutritional Value of Kenyan Macadamia nuts

It has tough thick shell which encloses a cream-colored oil-rich nut. The macadamia nuts are rich in oil (60-72%), Proteins and Carbohydrates. It is also a good source of Vitamin B1, B2, E, Fibre, Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium and Niacin. The nuts can be eaten raw or used to make edible oils or confectionery or baking Macadamia is a good source of calcium. phosphorus, iron, vitamins B and niacin.

Reasons Why Hass Avocado is Preferred over other Varieties

Economic importance of Macadamia nuts

The importance of macadamia nut as a tree for inclusion inagro-forestry products lies in the fact that the tree can be interplanted with other cash crops and once established, it needs minimal care in comparison to other tropical tree crops such as the cashew nuts which is confined to the coastal region only.

The macadamia tree has a wider ecological suitability. The main uses for macadamia nut still remain as the kernel which is eaten as a dessert nut, in raw or roasted form, but also for making confectionery products. Soaps and cosmetics industries use the oil as a raw material. The oil press cake can be used as a livestock feed additive, the shells can be used to make charcoal while the wood also has the potential for production of hard timbers for the furniture or building.

  • Apiculture: Macadamia pollen is very attractive to bees, providing necessary forage for honey production.
  • Fuel:Macadamia shells may be used as fuel, generating sufficient energy to dry wet, in-shell nuts.
  • Tannin or dyestuff: The hulls, the green covering of the nuts, contain approximately 14% of substances suitable for tanning leather.
  • Lipids: Macadamia is the richest oil-yielding nut known. The kernel contains more than 75% oil, suitable for human consumption.
  • Essential oil: The characteristic, subtle macadamia flavour is probably due to volatile compounds, the major ones being similar to those in other roasted nuts Services
  • Shade or shelter: M. integrifolia/ tetraphylla makes an excellent evergreen shade and shelter due to its thick crown of leaves.
  • Soil improver: The decomposed husk is commonly used in potting soil.
  • Ornamental: As well as being an evergreen nut-bearing tree, M. integrifolia/ tetraphylla has good symmetrical shape and when in full bloom is covered with creamy-white and pinkish flowers. These make it a popular ornamental tree.
  • Intercropping: Inter-row cropping can be practised with trees such as citrus or coffee or maize.
  • Health aspect: Macadamia fats helps lower cholesterol and Improves blood circulation they provide antioxidants that prevent arteriosclosis

Way forward for Macadamia nuts Farming in Kenya

  1. The most effective grafting method need to be researched on, to increase the production of grafted or high quality seedlings
  2. Continued work needs to be done in cultivation practices and methods of propagation.

For any question regarding macadamia farming in Kenya, give us a call or pay us a visit. In addition, do your own research and compare notes, this is just to help you.

 

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Macadamia nuts help release stress and it will strengthen your hair

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts have many health benefits which are worth planting for. Macadamia nuts take care of your heart or they can keep you upbeat all day. These nuts are fruits of the macadamia tree which is native to Australia. They are commercially very important. Macadamia belongs to Proteaceae family of plants and it can reach as high as 40 feet but the grafted hybrid variety is shorter. Its leaves are elliptical and are usually arranged in whorls of 3 – 6.  Its flowers are slender, and are about 10 inches long.

Macadamia nuts are extremely hard and woody. They have a pointed apex and have 1 or 2 seeds. If you take macadamia nuts in excess amounts, then they can cause skin allergies like rashes and other allergies like coughing. If you bought macadamia nuts that are salted, then they can elevate your blood pressure. This is a reason why you should eat unsalted natural variety. In addition, macadamia nuts are good source of fiber but if you take them in excess amounts, then they can cause gastrointestinal problems like bloating, diarrhea and gas.

Macadamia nuts health benefits

Strengthens hair

Macadamia nuts are rich in palmitoleic acid. They can help to treat hair and it can strengthen the hair roots. When you are massaging your hair regularly with macadamia nut oil, then it can make it shiny, stimulates hair growth and it can rebuild hair elasticity. This oil can also prevent the hair breakage by penetrating the scalp and it can improve the strength of the hair follicles. Also it can control the frizz. It will hydrate your hair as well.

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Macadamia nuts Improve skin health

Macadamia nuts have essentially fatty acids which are playing an important role in the skin health. It has palmitoleic acid which can hydrate the skin, support the health of cell membranes and promotes skin healing. You should apply macadamia oil to your skin because it can render a youthful glow. It is thick, but it gets absorbed by your skin very easily. It is important to know that there is some amount of palmitoleic acid which is naturally happening on our skin and as we are getting older, it diminishes. When you apply macadamia nut oil on your skin, then it can replenish your skin with this essential acid. Also this acid can delay the skin aging. It will prevent the early onset of the signs of aging like age spots and wrinkles.

Macadamia nuts can help Relieve stress

There are some studies in which are shown that macadamia nuts can help to relieve the oxidative stress in people. They are rich in antioxidants which can help to beat the stress as well. Antioxidants fight against the free radicals and if you have high levels of free radicals in your body, then it can lead to oxidative stress and an increased risk of disease. Also these nuts have high – quality protein but it is in small amounts. There are some studies in which are said that when we consume a handful of macadamia nuts due to their high – quality protein content, they can keep the blood sugar levels in check and they can provide a steady flow of enhanced energy and mood.

Boost metabolism

Macadamia nuts have monounsaturated fatty acids which can accelerate fat metabolism. When you are consuming 3 nuts, then they can reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome.

 Offers energy boost

Macadamia nuts have complex carbs and they can spike your energy levels. It is known that fats sustain the energy.

Macadamia nuts Aid in anemia treatment

These nuts have some amount of iron which can help to treat the anemia and it can prevent this disease. But you should include other foods that are rich iron such as spinach. Also when you are including Vitamin C in your diet, then it can improve your iron absorption and this can help to prevent anemia.

Now if you area farmer in Kenya and you want a tree that can give you money, think Macadamia. As we have seen the above benefits, macadamia nuts are highly sourced all over the world.

 

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Hass Avocado and Macadamia farming will Improve Lives “ Kiraitu Murungi”

On Friday 5th October 2018, H.E governor Kiraitu Murungi distributed hybrid Macadamia and Hass Avocado seedlings to farmers in Meru.

Although the governor was categorical that he doesn’t encourage farmers to uproot their miraa, he was quick to note that hass avocado and macadamia farming is the future.

In January 2018, Meru County government through the governor took major steps in empowering farmers in the region to embrace diversity and stop depending on traditional cash crops such as tea and coffee. Towards that end, the County’s Department of Agriculture promised to distribute half a million seedlings of avocado in the next two years.

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The Hass avocado species has been identified for the project which if successful, should see farmers earn at least ten thousand shillings from each tree every season.

As he was speaking at Gitoro ASK showground, the governor asked Trade and Industrialization CS and former Meru governor to help get a good market for farmers. He distributed over 400,000 seedlings.

With the demand for avocados growing in the west, Kenyan farmers are upping production of the coveted crop and reaping the benefits.

Farmers are now switching from coffee and tea to avocados in a bid to profit from the growing European demand. Kenya produces an estimated 115,000 metric tonnes of avocados annually, a figure that is about to increase as farmers embrace news.

Kenya is currently the world’s sixth largest exporter of hass avocado. In recent years, the popularity of hass avocados has increased and is driven by the global awareness of their health benefits.

However, there are concerns by stakeholders that Kenyan farmers should not rush to uproot their coffee trees in order to plant Avocado. This is because it takes about two to three years to start producing fruit, and a further two to reach maturity. However, you can inter-crop and later uproot coffee.

If you are looking for a better way to earn from farming contact us.

 

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Common Questions and Answers About Macadamia Farming In Kenya

Macadamia farming in Kenya has taken shape and farmers especially in central region have taken it seriously.

1. How long does Macadamia trees take to produce nuts?

There are several varieties of Macadamia grown in Kenya. However, a grafted tree will usually start to produce in its 3rd or 4th year after planting. The common varieties include Kiambu 3 & 4, Meru 23 & 24, Taita Taveta 1 & 2, Kirinyaga 15 and Murang’a 20. Depending on your area, you should have reasonable nuts after 7 or 8 years.  A seedling tree that is not grafted will usually not produce nuts until it is 7 to 10 years old.

2. What about tree maintenance?

Macadamias are a low maintenance tree and will grow in almost any soil type, as long as it is not water logged.  It is a forest tree native to Queensland Australia and likes a good mulch.  The main pest in is the green vegetable bug, attacking the young nuts and causing black spots on the nut kernel.  Long grass and seeds are known to harbor these bugs, keeping grass short or having it grazed by sheep and poultry will help.

More recently the guava moth has also become a problem pest with pheromone traps and spraying the only solution at the moment.  Organic growers and the majority of smaller growers take the risk of loosing some of their crop, in a bad year up to 30% by not spraying.  If you decide to spray, then 3 times a season will do the job, starting 3 weeks after flowering at intervals of about 3 weeks.

3. Can macadamias be pruned?

Yes, but be aware there are 2 types of trees, Droppers and stickers and pruning varies for each type.

Macadamias will stand quite heavy pruning.  The aim when pruning is to keep the tree to a manageable height (3 to 4 meters).  Do this by cutting strong leaders out of a sticker type tree or pruning the outside of a dropper variety.  This will open up the interior of the tree to light, air and bees to help with pollination, particularly because Macadamias tend to flower into the center of the tree.

In short, keep the tree low and open on the inside to aid pollination and to make picking easier.  Reduce multiple forks to a maximum of two to avoid the incidence of wind damage.

4. When are macadamia in Kenya ready for picking?

For varieties which do not drop their nuts, the simplest way is to look at the lining of the husk after the shortest day of the year.  When the lining has turned deep brown, to about the same color as the nut inside, the crop is ready for picking.  Depending on the weather and position of the trees this can be as late as April.  Beware, trees can drop (abort) quite a lot of nuts if stressed by drought, these nuts will be immature and can be mistaken as ripe.

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5. What to do after picking

Below are a few things you should do after picking. However, in Kenya most companies will buy the nuts while still at the tree and they will carry them to the processing plant.

  • Remove the husks preferably within 24 to 48 hours of picking.
  • Bag the fresh nuts in 10kg onion sacks and hang them in an airy and shaded position (open carport is ideal), for a 3 month minimum.  Hang them out of the reach of rats and mice who love chewing through them.  During drying the nuts will loose about 15% of their weight.
    Larger or Commercial growers will tend have a drying room with heat up to 350C lots of air movement and dehumidifiers operating.
  • Once dry, store them on or near the hot water cylinder for a minimum of 3 weeks.  The additional weight loss after this drying will be approximately 10% (a dehumidifier can be very helpful).
    Larger growers will have dried them to below 3% moisture in their drying rooms ready for cracking as required.
  • Once fully dry and ready for cracking (less then 3% moisture) .  The kernel will ideally be rattling in the shell and above all, will be crunchy and sweet.

The above process is meant for those who plant macadamia for own consumption. However, commercial macadamia farmers who intend to make money sell their nuts to companies such as Jungle nuts, Sasini, Kakuzi etc..

6. Do macadamias nuts last long?

All nuts deteriorate over time, however macadamias ‘in shell’ will last for a couple of years in a dark, cool and airy place.  After cracking, the kernels will last for about six months if kept in an airtight and moisture proof container. Larger growers with vacuum seal kernels or Nitrogen purge and pressure seal bags to keep the kernels fresh for a considerable time.

If you have any other questions about macadamia growing please contact us and we will do our best to help you.

 

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Kenya becomes the world’s third greatest producer of Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia Nuts

In the 80’s and 90’s, Kenya used to grow Macadamia trees to offer shade for their coffee bushes. Today farmers are gaining too much from the nuts that they are now abandoning the bushes. Kenya, formerly known for its Arabica coffee, is gaining global recognition for its Macadamia nuts, with production rising to a record this year.

According to Nawiri Agribusiness EPZ Ltd, rise to becoming the third world’s biggest producer of these nuts is being driven by growing demand in China. Farmgate this year have risen to as high as Ksh 200 per kg and can only go high.

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Contrary to Macadamia, coffee farmers are operating at a loss, with their beans earning an average of 50 Kg per Kilo. Farmers are discovering that macadamia is gold.  Wherever coffee is grown, the nuts also grows and farmers are now aware of the opportunity with them.” Kenyan coffee production has dwindled after years of mismanagement by the industry regulator to 38,620 tonnes last year from a peak of 130,000 tonnes in 1989.

According to reaserch conducted by Nawiri, macadamia production increased 5% to 41,614 tonnes, after growing more than 20 per cent over the preceding two years. At current prices, last year’s macadamia crop was worth Sh7.49 billion.

On the other hand, according to Nairobi Coffee Exchange, coffee industry earned sh15.9 bilion last year. Farmers in Kiambu, Meru, Embu, Murang’a, and Kirinyaga – highland regions that surround Mt Kenya, the source of the volcanic soil that suffuses Kenyan coffee with its strong acidic and fruity notes – are now the biggest producers of the nuts in the country. Increasing output helped Kenya overtake the US as the third-biggest producer in 2013, a position it has held since then. Australia produced 14,100 tonnes of nut kernels last year, compared with South Africa’s 13,383 tonnes and Kenya’s 5,795 tonnes, according to the Reus, Spain-based International Nut & Dried Fruit Council.

The US is the biggest importer of shelled nuts, followed by China and Japan. Producers exported 31,187 tonnes in 2016, more than double shipments made a decade earlier. Kenya’s production is expected to increase within the next four years when saplings with better yields mature.

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Large scale Farmers of Macadamia

Agricultural companies listed in NSE, such as Kakuzi Plc and Sasini Plc have also joined the small scale farmers in diversifying into the high-value nuts which are eaten raw, roasted or added to confectionery. Macadamia oil, which is unsaturated and cholesterol-free, is used mainly in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Kakuzi has been producing kernels since 2016, having planted macadamia trees where it once had coffee. Macadamia sales more than doubled to Sh371.6 million last year, according to its latest annual report, making the nuts the company’s second-biggest earner after avocados. Smaller rival Sasini, which has been growing coffee since the colonial era that ended in 1963, constructed a nut-processing factory that crushed its first nuts this year. Both these new lines of business, macadamia and avocado, show a lot of promise and the respective industries are thriving globally. Kenya now has 27 licensed macadamia processors, from just five in 2013.

Unlike coffee, which was managed and marketed by government agencies, macadamia industry is owned by private sector who if given right guidelines are capable of helping farmers get their rightful share.

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Why coffee farmers are encouraged to inter-crop with macadamia nuts

Coffee was once a major cash crop for Kenyan farmers but of late things have changed as trees such as  macadamia nad avocado are replacing both tea and coffee. Coffee crops are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes. Increasing temperatures world-wide could make it difficult to grow coffee. Farmers have tried to lower the temperature for coffee plants by inter-cropping them with shade trees. But so far, they haven’t been very successful. The trees provided too much shade and competed with the coffee plants for nutrients. The farmers lost money because they didn’t produce as much coffee.

A perfect match would be a tree that provides the right amount of shade. It would ideally also be a tree that produced a second cash crop.

Researchers have realized that coffee inter-cropped with macadamia trees is a ‘perfect marriage.’ This partnership benefits the coffee plants and improves environmental conditions. It also provides a considerable source of income to coffee producers.  According to research conducted in Brazil, the researchers discovered that the two crops were cooperating, and the union could help farmers economically.

Read: Best Agribusiness For the Youth to Engage in Kenya

Advantages of inter-cropping coffee with Macadamia

Currently, 90% of Kenyan coffee farms grow coffee as a mono-crop. But based on the current trends, more farmers may decide to inter-crop with macadamia trees. The research found that farmers could use several varieties of macadamia in the inter-cropping system. But Muranga 20 macadamia cultivar is the most suitable for inter-cropping with coffee. This variety of macadamia tree provides the best economic result. The economic benefit of this combination is 178% higher than the monocropped coffee.

Muranga 20 is nearly a match made in heaven for intercropping with coffee. It’s a hybrid macadamia developed in Kenya  and has a smaller canopy than other types of macadamia trees. The smaller canopy means it competes less with the coffee plants while still providing shade. The farmers don’t have to prune the trees as often.

But the perks don’t stop there. Intercropping also improves soil fertility. This means farmers can produce more crops with less fertilizers and pesticides. Plus, shaded coffee plantations can reduce water pollution and help decrease the greenhouse effect. With a marriage this good, Kenya, which is the one of the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee, may also become the largest producer of macadamia.

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Ludovick Karanja is a farmer in Kiambu County who has been planting coffee since 1968. According to Charles Njoroge an Agronomist, coffee can be intercropped with Macadamia. Unlike other trees, macadamia as highlighted above is a commercial tree which also if taken care properly can earn the farmer some income as well as providing shade.

A kilo of Coffee in the current market can give you a range of 70-100 while macadamia sells between 150-220 per kilo. An acre of land can host about 750 coffee bushes and 50-55 trees of macadamia if inter-cropped.

According to Naushad Merali, Group Chair, Sasini Ltd, Sasini Ltd is building a Mega Macadamia processing company as they plan on entering into Macadamia business. Once processed, a kilo of Macadamia can fetch upto Ks 1500 per Kilo.

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Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Farmers in Kenya have been complaining about market and low prices of their products. Be it maize, beans, coffee, tea or wheat these are common sentiments. This is so because of unpredictable prices, changing weather conditions, and expensive farm inputs.

Organizations and farming companies are offering new farming methods and better options such as Macadamia and Hass avocados.  In areas such as north rift where farmers are known to grow maize, organizations are enlightening farmers on Macadamia farming. The reason NGOs and other interested parties are concerned about North rift is because north rift is because they have fertile extensive lands which they can do large-scale farming.

Sasini, and other companies have invested heavily in North rift where they aim to buy Macadamia nuts and Hass Avocado fruits from farmers.

Hass avocado farming and Macadamia nuts farming is not only a good investment for the farmers but also to the environment as it improves the tree cover. The recommended forest cover in Kenya is 10% while currently its less than 7%.  Another advantage of Macadamia nuts and Hass Avocado is that a farmer will always harvest a fruit as long as he lives and the tree will remain. Unlike planting a tree such as Cyprus or cedar which will be harvested upon maturity.

According to hass avocado and macadamia traders, the market is increasing but there is limitation in production.

Unlike other crops farming, hass and fruit farming does not require much of your time and you can grow them as you still do other things.

Read: How to manage soil to prevent insects and pests

No short cuts for Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

If you are a farmer or you are interested in hass avocado or macadamia nuts farming and you want good production and better prices, don’t cut corners.

How to ensure you increase produce goods fruits, nuts

  • Ensure you plant the right variety (not just avocados or macadamia)
  • Always insist on certified seedlings
  • Maintain good care.

Start with clean and high-quality planting materials for higher yield. You should have known by now that export market requires quality procedure. At Oxfarm, we have quality seedlings (hass avocado and macadamia (Murang’a 20)) that are certified by both HCD and KEPHIS.

Read: Why you shouldn’t Worry about hass avocado Market

Advantages of Grafted Over Non-Grafted hass avocado and Macadamia nuts

  • Grafted do not take too long to mature – they take only 2-3 years to produce fruits while the non-grafted takes 7- 10 years
  • Production is more
  • Grafted trees do not grow as tall as the non-grafted ones

Kenya produces 150, 000 annually where 70% is grown by small-scale farmers. Over time, local market has been the biggest beneficiary but for the last few years things have changed drastically. Farmers are now interested on the export market and have now commercialized and there are more people interested in large scale farming of hass avocado.

Read: How to Boost Your Agribusiness Through Marketing

Don’t be left behind, change gears to tree fruit farming and make money as you still do other things.

 

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Macadamia nuts farming: How to get most returns

Despite macadamia nut tree being a money-making harvest, several farmers don’t receive most returns, attributable to errors of omission and commission.

Though a mature tree will produce between 80kg and 100kg of nuts, most farmers harvest between 30kg and 50kg, and incur needless production prices. Failure to induce most effort is attributed to errors of omission and commission.

According to Oxfarm, an acre of land will hold to 70 Macadamia trees. This could earn a farmer, going by the present government set minimal returns of Ksh70 per kilogram of nuts, up to Ksh 500,000 – 800,000 per acre if a farmer harvest 80Kg per tree, depending on farming practices and favorable climate. At the a harvest, that comes from 2-3 years after transplantation of seedlings, a farmer will fetch between 30kg and 50kg, on 6-8th year reckoning on the range and the attention given to the trees. Production will increase with each harvest.

Due to high competition for the macadamia nuts by process and selling companies; most companies supply improved costs to farmers. This year, some firms offered the maximum amount as Ksh200 per kilogram of nuts, however external market factors forced the costs to drop to a mean of Ksh130 per kilogram.

Macadamia nuts will grow in most areas of the country, however production can vary depending on the number of precipitation, where farmers don’t have any access to irrigation water.

It is vital to consult experts on best varieties for given regions. The well-liked selection is Murang’a 20. It’s hardy and adapts well to completely different climates, with improved production throughout the year. Different varieties manufacture doubly a year.

Macadamia Nuts Farming: Propagation

Where farmers have gotten 50kg and fewer, it implies that there’s a drag typically beginning with propagation of the seed, to the eye and care given to the tree.

Propagation needs plenty of monitoring and doing the proper issue at the proper time, as well as watering and spacing. One should even be trained to confirm that one will differentiate between types of macadamia nuts by looking on them before planting and at the young stage, to making sure that there’s no mistake once marketing the seedlings to farmers.

Ratios of the propagation media, as well as soil, sand and compost manure, are key among different technicalities that decisions for coaching.

Related Post: Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Macadamia nuts farming: Timing

Right from the nursery, correct records should be kept. Transplant the seedlings once the plant has 2 full leaves and a bud, whereas guaranteeing that they’re properly uprooted, handled and transported to wherever they’ll be planted in the polyethylene bag.

 

Macadamia nuts farming: Spacing

The recommended spacing is ten by ten meters, that adds up to seventy trees per acre. Congesting the trees affects nuts production, because the branches can meet, so denying them enough sunlight and different needed conditions for flowering and nuts production.

 

Macadamia nuts farming: Management

Macadamia tree
Macadamia tree in Muranga

 

The other mistake that farmers create is to abandon their trees after planting. The trees need weeding, particularly once young. Their shades cannot suppress weeds. Apply manure a minimum of once a year, as robust healthy trees can guarantee you the simplest quality and amount. Use caution with pruning. Do it in a slanting manner, using pruning scissors. Don’t use a machete.

 

Macadamia nuts farming: pests and disease management

The tree is disease-resistant. Some farmers use chemicals to manage pests and insects. That is wrong. Management them using smoke. Light a fire about 2 meters away from the stem, guaranteeing that it’s not large enough to get into the leaves. We recommend pepper and similar robust smoke producing weeds. The bitter smoke can penetrate throughout the macadamia tree and effectively manage pests and insects.

 

Macadamia nuts farming: Harvesting and storage

Many farmers and processors encounter immense losses attributable to poor gathering and post-harvest handling. generally, losses quantity to over ninety per cent. Don’t harvest premature macadamia nuts. Collect them from the ground and deliver them to the market as shortly as possible to avoid touching their quality Storing at home for long can compromise quality.

The nuts can develop molds, just as they do when harvested immature. Harvest and post-harvest are very crucial stages. When harvested, nuts should be stored in raised sisal bags and not polythene bags. Place the sacks on well-laid out timber planks to that ensure they do get into contact with water.

 

Macadamia has a bright future in Kenya, despite the challenges facing the sector. Book your seedlings today.

 

Macadamia seedlings