Why Macadamia Is the Cash Crop to Farm in Kenya in 2023 and Beyond

A few years back, no one could imagine that macadamia farming in Kenya would one day be as rewarding as it is now. A few macadamia trees would stand in homesteads essentially to provide shade only. Every season, children would crack a few of the nuts that fell off the trees and then leave the rest to rot away.

Fast forward to the period between 2015 and 2020 and the economics and trade around this crop have dramatically changed. The brown nuts that were being left rot are now gold, fetching as high as Ksh 220 per kg in 2019.

Macadamia farming in Kenya

Why macadamia prices are on the rise

Over 95% of all the macadamia nuts produced in Kenya are sold in the export market. Europe and China are the largest importers of Kenyan macadamia and part of the produce is also being sold in the USA. These markets are lucrative and their demand for the nuts is insatiable.

Currently, there are over 30 macadamia processing companies in Kenya all competing to buy the few nuts that the Kenyan farmers are producing. Most of the produce is actually from the few trees that were planted many years back. 

Although there is a significant increase in the number of farmers who have taken up commercial farming of macadamia in Kenya, the production is still way below the demand by the processing companies, and the competition has seen the prices soar up fast.

In the previous years, farmers gave absolutely no attention to macadamia trees. As a result, when the market for the nuts started opening up, the quality of the produce getting to the factories was low. Now that the farmers have seen the profitability of this crop, they have turned their attention to improving quality. Prices have then risen to be commensurate with the rising quality.

Demand for Kenyan macadamia continues to increase abroad

The global macadamia market is projected to grow by 6.6% between this year 2020 and the year 2025 according to global market intelligence firm Mordor. This is because there is an increasing number of consumers who now prefer the nuts as a healthy snack as opposed to junk and fast foods.

Macadamia nuts are also used in the food industry, especially in the production of confectionaries. By the way, my best chocolate is the one with nuts inside and if you have eaten this type, you perfectly understand why.

The nuts are also used in the production of beverages, cosmetics and personal care products.

Why macadamia farming is the business of the moment

Many parts of Kenya have an ideal climate for growing macadamia. It is a thriving crop in Murang’a, Embu and Meru and it is now spreading to Bungoma and Taita Taveta Counties through the effort and support by their county governments.

Macadamia farming is not delicate: there are no strict spray programs and no harassing pests and diseases. It is one of the least labour intensive types of farming. A farmer mainly requires manure and water and occasional pruning which doesn’t need a high level of skill.

With the national government keen on developing macadamia farming as a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya, the future is looking bright. China is an emerging market and Kenya is making efforts to capture this market in an effort to balance the value of imports from China with exports to the country.

If you would like further information about macadamia farming in Kenya, call us on 0724698357 or email info@richfarmkenya.com. We are always happy to serve you. 

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