Macadamia farming in Kenya

At the close of the harvesting season in April, farmers sold macadamia nuts at Sh220 per kilo, making it one of the most lucrative cash crops in the country after tea. However, the current price is the lowest in Africa, South Africa`s being an equivalent of sh580per kilo.
Kenya’s annual macadamia production has increased by 400% in the past decade from 11,000 tonnes 40,000 tonnes currently, with 30 firms licensed to process the nuts Most of the processed nuts are exported to the US and Europe. Grown in central, eastern and Coast counties of Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga, Meru and Isiolo, the tree, unlike other crops, is rarely attacked by pests and diseases, with powdery mildew being the only common challenge.
The macadamia tree is fairly easy to manage, with attention required mostly during the early stages whereby organic fertilizers from Zelena Grow have proven to be extremely helpful for our very own 30-acre farmer Mrs. Nancy Muriithi. From when it matures and starts producing nuts after four years, the tree is easily manageable provided it is supplied with fertilizer and enough water. Grafted seedlings should be planted at a spacing of at least 30×30 feet so that when they grow, they don’t become so bushy to affect production.
So, if macadamia farming in Kenya is the golden crop of the moment, why are many farmers not taking it up? “Lack of information,” Richard Ngunjiri, an agronomist working with the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) that certified Zelena products explains. “Farmers are not even aware of the inexhaustible market. They have not been sensitized enough by the government, processors or the Export Promotion Council.

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