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Macadamia production increases fourfold as demand rises

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Macadamia production has increased fourfold from 11,000 metric tonnes in 2009 to 41,164 metric tonnes in 2018 as more farmers embrace the crop due to increase in prices from Sh70 to Sh200 in the central region of Kenya as reported by the Nut Processors Association of Kenya.

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.

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.

The area under cultivation of the crop increased to 16,153 ha in 2017 to 15,512 ha in 2016 thereby leading to increase in production of the produce by 1,443 metric tonnes.

The increase in prices has also been enhanced by increase in licensed oil nut makers from 30 processors up from 24 earlier this year.

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A macadamia farmer in Nyeri County. Courtesy

Joshua Muriira for instance, a macadamia farmer in Meru harvested 4,000 kilos of the nuts this season from 140 trees in his farm.

“I sold the nuts at an average price of Sh190 per kilo, with this good price I intend to up production the next season,” said Muriira.

The crop 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.

Macadamia nuts are used in the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in face scrub.

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