Farmer cracks macadamia nut yields with grafting

An Embu County farmer, who ran out of patience of waiting for more than five years for a dismal harvest from macadamia, has cracked the nut to double yield after crafting a grafted variety.

Joseph Thiga says adventure in search of high and fast maturing macadamia varieties got him out of the rest to post at least 100 kilos per tree every season. he says this is double the harvest he got from ordinary macadamias.

“I have not grown macadamias in large scale, but I earn between Sh150,000 and Sh200,000 from the 20 plants I have every season,” he says.

Although his aim was improving his produce, Thiga now sells grafted seedlings too.

“I use the indigenous macadamia stalk which has very good root network. I add the scion from Muranga 20 or Embu 1. Because of the good root network of the resultant crop, the trees are stable. The scion is hastened to flower fast and produce more starting from the second year onwards,” he says.

By the fifth year, the tree produces more macadamia for commercial purposes.

The grafted variety produces uniform seeds, which are highly marketable, he says.

In 100 kilogrammes, less than 10 kilogrammes will be found to have inconsistent sizes or quality. There is no much grading like in ordinary nuts, and this contributes to his higher earnings.

Macadamias trees are sensitive to chemicals. Spraying for aphids only happens during the flowering stage.

He applies farm manure to improve soil productivity.

Thiga hopes to earn more after the completion of a Sh200 million Privamnuts Kenya Limited macadamia factory in the county.

The 1,000-metric tonnes per season processing Muthatari factory will save more farmers, who have been selling their produce to middle men prematurely.

The county processes about 5,000 metric tonnes between March and July, the main harvesting season.

Germany, Netherlands, USA, Japan are among the global markets for this nut.

He sells seedlings at Sh300 each and he can be reached on 0727505512.