Chinese government invests in Kenya’s macadamia sector

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A macadamia farmer in Central Kenya

The government of China has supported Kenya’s macadamia sector with the funding of the International Macadamia Research and Development Center established to promote the industry.

“China now has up to 200,000 hectares under plantation and will be the fourth-largest producer this year at around 20,000 tonnes.

“Up to 80 per cent of farms in the largest growing region of Yunnan are owned by small growers, with the government supporting them,” Mr Muigai said.

Small-scale farmers in Mt Kenya region in the recent years have abandoned traditional cash crops for macadamia nuts.

Since the ban of export of raw nuts in 2009, production of the nuts has risen from an annual production of 11,000 metric tonnes and four processors to over 45,000 metric tonnes and 30 processors by 2018, according to statistics by NutPAK.

Anticipating increased production in the next five years, processors have created an installed processing capacity of 90,000 tonnes and are currently operating at 50 percent.

The targeted areas for production are non-traditional areas such as Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties in efforts to prop up production.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) will supply at least three million seedlings to farmers in an attempt to scale up production from the current 41,000 tonnes to about 61,000 in the next five years, Mr Richard Ndegwa, Interim Head of the Nut and Oil Crops Directorate at AFA said in an earlier interview.

The demand for increased production of the nut is fuelled by attractive farm gate prices that hit the Sh200 mark a kilo at the close of the last season in August last year.

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