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The macadamia industry recovering from COVID-19 epidemic

Macadamia

The rising numbers of COVID-19 cases are sparking anxiety about the collapsing food systems, negative economic growth, and failing healthcare systems globally. In The African continent, we are experiencing great uncertainty. Apart from coronavirus, the agriculture sector has been greatly hit by climate change and production has reduced significantly in various parts of the world. If strict measures are not enforced to mitigate the effect of the epidemic, the chances of having an imminent food crisis will be high. However, macadamia industry is recovering.

Macadamia Industry is Recovering

Last year, macadamia were selling at premium prices with a kilo going for up to Ksh 200. This year has been different. The epidemic has resulted to a sharp drop in the prices with brokers buying the nuts at Ksh 50 per kilo.

The reopening of economies in the US, China, and Europe has offered a glimpse of hope to the macadamia sub-sector.

According to Batian Nuts managing director, James Karanja, orders are beginning to come from the reopened hotels, restaurants, and airports. Previously, there was little production in the macadamia industry due to low demand and hence most processors were unable to buy nuts from farmers. Reopening of factories, food stores and travel channels means that the demand will increase hence processors will start buying nuts.

However, farmers should not expect good prices since factories would be cautious not to process large quantities until the coronavirus epidemic is in control. Few processors will be buying nuts full scale.

The epidemic has been an opportunity for middlemen to exploit farmers and buy the nuts at throw away prices. These middlemen anticipate selling them at premium prices when the macadamia industries are reopened. Charles Muigai, NutPAK executive officer, warned that there is a possibility those buying nuts in large quantities might end up making losses.

What are Africa’s solutions?

macadamia nuts

Short-term measures that can be taken to address the food security threat in the future include:

  • Making provision of agricultural inputs such as seedlings, agro-chemical, and fertilizers easier via smart input subsidies.
  • Implementing anti-hoarding policy
  • Imposing stricter measures on the exportation of raw nuts. This will prevent middlemen from exploiting farmers, buying their nuts at low prices.
  • Rapid scale up of technologies in the agriculture sector to boost production, minimize farming costs, and help farmers look for better markets.

Medium and long-term food security interventions such as;

  • Strengthening the resilience in food supply chain by promoting processing, value addition, and efficient production. In Kenya, we sell raw nuts instead of using them to add value to products and export finished products and in the process lose a more lucrative opportunity. In Asia and Europe, macadamia are extensively applied in food and beverages and personal care products. Making cosmetic products such as lotions, moisturizers, shampoos or food products like cakes, macadamia nut butter, breakfast cereals, or biscuits can be more profitable than exporting raw nuts.
  • Employing improved food quality and food safety after coronavirus.
  • Promoting digitalization in the agriculture sector and increase the employment of e-commerce to elevate the impact of coronavirus.

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, products made from macadamia nuts such as cosmetics and foods are still selling, locally and internationally. If we considered value addition, the impact of coronavirus could have lesser.

For macadamia seedlings contact Oxfarm.co.ke

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How to make macadamia Farming profitable venture

Macadamia farming is a lucrative venture that many farmers are beginning to get into. The increasing demand and good prices of macadamia nuts make it an ideal venture for low-income earners.

Macadamia farming has attracted a large number of farmers and it’s proving to be a profitable business venture for them. The increasing demand and high profits realized in macadamia nut farming make it an ideal business for low-income farmers.

How to make macadamia Farming a profitable venture

Different ways can be employed ton make macadamia a profitable venture. These include;

Planting high-quality seedlings

Grafted, high-quality seedlings produce more yields per tree when proper farming techniques are employed. This incorporates utilizing the available resources, land, and manpower. For instance, a grafted macadamia tree can produce an average of 180kg in one season fetching you Ksh 27,000 when one kg is going for 150 shillings. You can imagine the amount of money you will get when you have 100 trees.

Train farmers

Lack of skills and sufficient information on how to grow macadamia is the biggest challenge facing macadamia farming. Lack of information makes farmers produce low-quality nuts and in the process suffering financial losses.

Eliminate middlemen by forming groups and cooperatives

Other sectors such as tea and coffee were filled with middlemen who buy the produce from farmers at low prices. Formation of member-run cooperatives and groups that are responsible for marketing the macadamia produce and hence farmers will be able to fetch good prices for their nuts.

What are the challenges that macadamia farming face

Seasonality of the harvest

Insufficient quantities of unprocessed nuts and seasonality of harvest are one of the challenges that macadamia farmers face. Seasonality makes farmers unable to meet the increasing demand for nuts resulting in high competition from other countries. Macadamia farmers need to expand their production units which are possible through the provision of affordable, grafted seedlings.

Unscrupulous traders

The exportation of unprocessed nuts in Kenya was banned in 2009. Unfortunately, there are still unscrupulous traders who export unprocessed nuts to international markets such as China. This poses competition to processors who export processed nuts and this creates a competitive space in the international market. Previously, China was one of the main markets of Kenyan and South African macadamia nuts. Unfortunately, they have started planting macadamia trees and hence relying on the Chinese market is unsustainable.

Lack of quality seedlings

The majority of farmers grow native macadamia varieties that use a lot of resources, manpower and time but produce low yields. Low-quality seedlings perform poorly regardless of the topology, rainfall, and soil composition. Farmers should shift to grafted varieties and purchase high-quality seedlings from certified sellers since they have a short maturity period and provide high-quality nuts.

Taking to market unripe produce

This is common when the demand for macadamia is high and local production cannot meet the demand. Shipping unripe and unprocessed nuts makes farmers lose money especially when shipping to Asian markets like China. Harvesting immature nuts mainly happen when farmers beat the nuts off the tree. These days, buyers have an effective grading mechanism and they can easily separate immature nuts from the mature ones. On most occasions, they reject the unripe nuts and the loss borne to the farmer. If they buy the immature nuts, they average the prices and hence farmers are unable to enjoy the competitive prices.

Theft

When the demand for macadamia is high, farms are sometimes raided by thieves. In some regions, macadamia farms go to the extent of seeking for armed security from police officers.

Selling through brokers, instead of through direct contracts

Brokers have dominated the nut industry. Most processors buy nuts through brokers and hence farmers are unable to enjoy the competitive prices of macadamia nuts.

More and more farmers enter into macadamia farming

Over the past few years, more farmers have ventured into macadamia farming because of several factors such as;

Low returns in other sectors

Previously, coffee and tea were the leading export crops. Unfortunately, the changing global economy and middlemen have made the once-lucrative venture to shrink, with farmers incurring losses. In some regions, farmers have already started clearing their coffee bushes to create space for macadamia trees.

Versatility

Nuts can be used in various forms such as in the production of oil for cosmetic and pharmaceutical use, consumed raw, or added to food items.

Reuse and waste reduction

Macadamia husks can act as fuel reducing the usage of charcoal and firewood.

Short maturity

Macadamia matures within a short period but acts as a lifetime investment since they last for a couple of decades.Grafted macadamia seedlings mature within 2 years and have a high productivity rate. Non-grafted seedlings take 5 years to mature.

Value addition of Macadamia

In Kenya, instead of adding value locally and exporting finished products, we sell raw macadamia losing a big opportunity. For instance, importers buy raw nuts in Kenya and use them to add value to chocolate. They then export macadamia-chocolate at a higher price making them earn more money than the raw nuts they bought from Kenya. Farmers can form processing plants, add value to other products such as chocolate and then export them as finished products. For instance, they can use nuts to manufacture oil for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, detergents, and adding value to foodstuffs such as chocolate and cakes. This way, they can enjoy 100 percent profit from their nuts.

Market Analysis of Macadamia nuts

Previously, the macadamia industry was dominated by middlemen who fetched a high percentage of hard-earned macadamia farmers’ profits. Currently, there are more than 27 certified and licensed processors who buy the nuts from farmers directly and hence eliminating middlemen. These processors also offer advice and financial services to farmers hence shielding them against losses and exploitation. Farmers should, however, be careful since some people come and purchase their nuts at low prices either due to the desperation or ignorance of the farmer and export them at high prices.

The market for Kenyan nuts is quite broad, spanning from local to international. The diversified use of macadamia nuts facilitates a wide range of market opportunities. Kenya has managed to tap the Chinese market where the demand for macadamia has been increasing. The demand has also been increasing in Europe, Asian countries and America. Due to the high demand, prices of macadamia nuts have risen even up to KES 180 per kilo. Coffee berries, on the other hand, have been retailing at KES 55 per kilo, prices which as incomparable to those of macadamia. 

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Value addition of Macadamia Nuts and Why we should embrace it

Macadamia nuts

The consumption of macadamia nuts in Asia, America, and Europe is positive and the demand has been increasing constantly. This has been fuelled by the increasing interest in healthy eating. Macadamia nuts are a source of vitamins, fibre, minerals, protein, and unsaturated fats. They are considered to be rich in iron, vitamin A, niacin, folates, thiamine and riboflavin. Raw macadamia nuts are not produced in Europe and hence most countries are forced to import.

Why we should sell value-added products

Value added products cost higher than raw macadamia nuts. For instance, importers buy raw nuts importers buy raw nuts and use them to add value chocolate and then export the macadamia-chocolate at a higher price. This way, they earn more money than the raw nuts they imported from Kenya. Farmers should aim at forming groups and coming up with processors whereby they can process their nuts to add value to other products and export value added products. This way they can manage to fetch more money than when they sell raw nuts. Currently, there are more than 27 certified and licensed processors who buy the nuts from farmers directly.

Consumption

The consumption of nuts in Europe, Asia and America is increasing at a rate of 19percent. Previously, the demand for macadamia was lower due to low harvest of macadamia nuts in various parts of the country which resulted to a decrease in consumption.

In Europe, Germany is largest consumer of macadamia, which consumed 1870 tonnes and a consumption of 116 grams of nuts per capita in 2016. Luxembourg was the largest consumer of macadamia nuts per capita due to its processing facilities consuming 1.4 kg per capita. Other major consumers of macadamia nuts in Europe are Spain, Italy, and United Kingdom. In Asia, China and Japan are the largest consumers of macadamia nuts products.

In Europe, the consumption of macadamia nuts is seasonal reaching a peak in winter months, and the consumption reduces towards the summer.

Value addition of macadamia nuts

The consumer demand of gluten-free, natural, and vegan food, especially in Europe and Asia creates opportunities for exporters in Kenya. Farmers have a guaranteed market for their produce hence they can venture into macadamia farming with confidence. However, exported produce should meet all the requirements for the international market, be free from pests, and adhere to corporate standards.

In Kenya, instead of adding value locally and exporting finished products, we sell raw macadamia losing a big opportunity. The global macadamia nuts market has expanded especially after the application of the nuts in personal care, food & beverage, and others. The food & beverage sector accounts for the largest share in the global nuts market due to the extensive use of nuts in culinary segments, dairy and frozen desserts, bakery, and confectionery. These days, macadamia are used to add value to breakfast biscuits, chocolate products, breakfast cereals, macadamia nut butter, cakes, and breakfast biscuits. There is also widespread use of macadamia oil in personal care and cosmetic products such as shampoos, lotions, and moisturizers due to high palmitoleic acid and natural antioxidant properties. 

Macadamia nuts enjoy a good reputation in among Asian and European consumers. The consumption of nuts is expected to increase in the cosmetic and snack segment. In European countries, macadamia are regarded as a healthy alternative of junk food such as extruded snacks and crisps and healthier than peanuts.

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Local and Global Market Analysis of Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts

Global macadamia market shows a steady upward trend

The global macadamia market has continued to show a steady upward trend and it’s expected to be a billion-dollar industry by 2024. The demand for macadamia nuts has been rising globally, although the supply is still low in the international market. This has resulted in variations in the demand and supply of nuts. To speed up the development of the macadamia market, there is a need for investments in the industry including contributions from the government and NGOs. 

Factors that result in the high demand for macadamia nuts

Various factors have fueled the demand for nuts which include:

  1. The nutritional value and health benefits of macadamia nuts especially their high content of minerals and vitamins.
  2. The growing use of macadamia in cosmetics and personal care products such as shampoos.
  3. The growing use of macadamia nuts to add value to confectionery products and beverages.
  4. The increasing awareness among consumers about natural cosmetic ingredients.

Due to their high demand, the prices of macadamia have been relatively high in the international market and the majority of nut farmers have smiled at the bank. In the macadamia value chain, about 30 percent buy macadamia seedlings from companies. However, only a small percentage sells their nuts to companies directly demonstrating a weak relationship between macadamia companies and the farmers. The relationship is quite strong between brokers and farmers. However, some companies buy nuts directly from farmers.

Importance of selling directly to companies

Selling to companies is important since farmers get basic training on macadamia farming.

Farmers can enjoy relative price stability and organic certification.

They also learn about product innovation, international collaboration, and gain technological know-how.

Market analysis of macadamia nuts

The market for Kenyan nuts is quite broad, spanning from local to international. The diversified use of macadamia nuts facilitates a wide range of market opportunities. Kenya has managed to tap the Chinese market where the demand for macadamia has been increasing. The demand has also been increasing in Europe, Asian countries and America. Recently, the high demand has even made the prices of macadamia nuts to rise to KES 180 per kilo.

In Europe and Asia, the processing of macadamia nuts has been increasing rapidly. Raw macadamia cannot be produced in Europe and most parts of Asia due to the climatic conditions and hence the nuts have to be imported. Europe and Asia offer the largest market for macadamia. In Europe, macadamia are mainly processed by blanching, roasting, salting, and spicing. Luxembourg is one of the top nut processing countries in Europe. Market opportunities can be found in the growing markets of Eastern and Central Europe. Currently, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are the largest import markets for Kenyan macadamia offering good opportunities for exporters in Kenya. In Asia, China offers the best market for Kenyan nuts.

Due to the high consumption of macadamia products, steady growth is expected. Since 2015, macadamia imports have increased in Europe at a rate of 10% in volume and 19% in value which shows that import prices have increased. Heavy investment in macadamia farming in Kenya can help farmers to gain a higher market share for their nuts in the European market over leading suppliers from the USA, Australia and other parts of the world. In Kenya, macadamia farming has no restrictions and regulations in the international market and therefore the prices are determined by the demand and supply of nuts in the market. Farmers should hence consider venturing into the lucrative business.

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More and more farmers enter into macadamia farming

Macadamia farming has proven to be a profitable venture, and many farmers in the country have started to grow macadamia trees. The high profits and increasing demand for macadamia nuts have made nut farming an ideal venture even for low-income farmers. Increased small scale production has made Kenyan macadamia nuts to gain recognition globally. Over the past few years, more farmers have ventured into macadamia farming because of several factors such as;

Low returns in other sectors

Previously, cash crops such as tea and coffee were the leading exports in the country. However, due to the high number of middlemen and the changing economy, the once-lucrative venture shrank and farmers ended up making losses. When coffee farming was profitable, farmers planted macadamia trees to provide shade to their coffee plants. Today, most farmers have shifted to more profitable crops with most of them venturing into macadamia farming. In some regions, farmers have started clearing their coffee bushes to pave way for macadamia. For instance, the prices of macadamia nuts in 2018 rose to KES 180 per kilo in 2018 and part of 2019. Compared to crops such as maize that were going for even KES 20 per kilo and coffee which was going for about KES 55 per kilo, the prices of nuts can be considered incomparable. Close to September, the prices rose to KES 200 per kilo. The attractive prices were fuelled by the high demand in the international market.

Lower yields in other sectors

Compared to other crops such as coffee, macadamia produces more yields. For instance, one acre can accommodate up to 70 macadamia trees. One tree can produce up to 100kgs of nuts. With a price of KES 160, a farmer with 70 trees can make about 1,120,000 per year. Other crops such as tea, coffee, and maize can barely reach this figure, considering their high cost of production. However, farmers should adhere to the right farming methods to achieve optimum benefits.

Versatility and Ready Market For Macadamia Farming

Previously, the macadamia nut industry was dominated by middlemen who took a large number of farmers’ profits. However, with about 27 licensed processors that buy nuts directly from farmers, farmers are well cushioned against losses and exploitation. Kenyan nuts are popular in the local and international markets due to their crunchy nature. This has ushered fierce competition among raw nut exporters, local, and foreign roasters. The demand for macadamia nuts is high in Europe and Asia and hence there is always a ready market for Kenyan nuts. However, for farmers to get higher returns, Kenya should encourage investments in value addition. The global market has expanded due to the application of nuts in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, food, and beverages. In the food & beverage sector, nuts can be used in confectionery, dairy and frozen desserts, bakery, and culinary segments. In cosmetic and personal care products, they can be used to add value to lotions, shampoos, and moisturizers.

Short maturity and last longer

Macadamia trees are a lifetime investment that matures within a short time. Grafted seedlings mature within 2 years and have a high productivity rate. These trees produce high yields for a couple of decades unlike other crops such as maize which last only a few months.

Reuse and waste reduction

Macadamia husks can act as fuel in rural and urban areasreducing the usage of charcoal and firewood.

Kenyan farmers have experienced poor prices and losses of their produce and hence most of them shifting to other streams of income. With the development of macadamia farming, farmers can smile again. Macadamia trees require little maintenance unlike other crops such as coffee but fetch high profits. Farmers should consider planting grafted seedlings that mature fast. However, farmers should ensure that they get grafted seedlings from certified nurseries. As the macadamia industry grows, more farmers should venture into the lucrative business to help meet the increasing demand and enjoy high prices.

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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.

Strawberries Farming in Kenya

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.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

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.