The price of macadamia nuts has risen to Sh170 per kilogram up from Sh50 in the black market following a move by the Macadamia Farmers Association of Kenya to announce the new price to stop farmers from selling immature nuts.
In this, the association will link 10,000 farmers to licensed macadamia processors in a bid to ensure farmers have access to markets and triple income.
The number of licensed oil nut makers in Kenya has increased from 24 in 2017 to 30 in 2018 according to the Nut Processors Association of Kenya.
The area under cultivation of the crop increased to 16,153 ha in 2017 from 15,512 ha in 2016 thereby leading to increase in production of the produce by 1,443 metric tonnes according to the Economic Survey 2018 report.
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Macadamia nuts. Courtesy
The production of the nuts has also been buoyed by the ban on in-shell macadamia in 2009 by the ministry of agriculture in a bid aimed at protecting the local industry. Last year for instance two Chinese nationals were arrested and deported for buying immature nuts from farmers by the Agriculture and Food Authority officials and the police. The Chinese broke the law against smuggling as outlined in section 43 of the Agriculture and Food Authority Act of Kenya’s constitution.
According to the Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate report of 2017, the value of the crop rose from Sh4.3bn in 2015 to Sh5.1bn in 2017 due to expansion of the global market
Macadamia is majorly used as food and is rich in vitamin A, B and iron, manganese and anti-oxidants which are essential in protecting the human body.
It is also used in the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in face scrub.