The dark horse in SA agriculture is emerging as the Macadamia Nut.
The demand for suitable land for Macadamia nuts production has increased sharply and supplies of plants from nurseries are reportedly tight with orders almost two years ahead. Macadamia nuts are without a doubt, the dark horse in South African (SA) Agriculture.
“The shear growth in this sector makes it a product worth watching, it is more than doubling in organic growth on a year to year basis and with that are new jobs and income streams finding their way into the sector,” says Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB.
Areas in SA that produce macadamias – In terms of market share, the area between Hazyview and Barbeton in Mpumalanga is the largest planted area and accounts for 70% of new plantings. This is followed by the area between Levubu and Tzaneen in Limpopo, and the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal. In neighbouring countries, macadamia nuts are produced in Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Annual production – It is estimated that 700 farmers are involved in growing macadamia nuts, supplying 10 cracking factories.
“In terms of output, the industry has seen an exponential growth in the last 10 years, growing production from 4,600 tons in 2015 to 38,000 tons nut in shell (NIS) in 2016,” says Makube.
Export quantities – The industry is largely exported driven with more than 95% of the annual production shipped to international markets. Approximately 50% of the SA harvest is exported as NIS to Asian countries with Hong Kong taking the
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