Macadamia Farmers In Kenya Staring At Low Prices
Macadamia farmers in Kenya have been cautioned to brace for poor prices this year owing to fluctuations in the global market.
Nut Traders Association of Kenya (Nutrak) chairperson Johnson Kihara cited the Russian-Ukraine war and fluctuation of the dollar as some of the reasons that the produce may fetch reduced prices.
“Some provinces in China have been locked down and some consignments have been overstaying in ports. The country has also started farming its own macadamia, reducing our exports,” Kihara said.
He noted that leading processors from the country recently attended an annual macadamia buyers meeting in the US where they were informed of the impending nosedive in prices.
Last year, the crop fetched between Sh90 and Sh120 per kilo, with farmers raking in more than Sh4 billion.
This raised farmers’ expectations that the nuts would withstand the fluctuations of the global market this year and do even better.
Some exporters, Kihara said, had already bought tonnes of macadamia as they anticipated that the market would strengthen and could be staring at losses.
Macadamia Farmers In Kenya – Production
“The nuts awaiting harvest in the farms right now are worth more than Sh5.5 billion as farmers amped up production with the high prices recorded last year,” he said.
Kenya is the third largest producer of macadamia and the sector is positioning itself as a top revenue earner.
Licensing of more processors, he said, has increased competition and provided a sure market for farmers.
“A few years back, we had only five processors, but the number has risen to 37. The requirement by AFA to have processors establish nurseries to supply seedlings to farmers has also increased production,” Kihara said.
He, however, blamed unscrupulous processors for being behind farm gate theft of the crop that has been reducing farmers’ returns.
Nutrak’s secretary general John Ndirangu registered farmers’ opposition of the requirement that only degree holders can join the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), saying it is discriminatory.
Farmers want their representatives on the board to be ‘their own’ and called upon the government to help eradicate cartels that have been frustrating growers.
He also urged Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to intervene and help streamline the sector as he works on tea and coffee sectors.
Peter Maina, a farmer from Kandara subcounty in Murang’a hailed the crop after getting more than Sh150,000 from the produce last year from his 30 trees.
“This is definitely better than most other cash crops and we hope the sector will get better,” he said.
BY: Alice Waithera
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