Nut and macadamia processors clashes with farmers over poor pay, Growers want to access the international market
Nut processors have clashed with farmers in the industrialists’ push for the agriculture regulator to maintain the ban on export of macadamia and cashew nuts.
Nut Processors Association of Kenya (Nutpak), the lobby for eight factories, has petitioned Parliament to hold the ban, arguing the export restriction was not behind the rock-bottom prices of macadamia.
This comes amid a push by farmers to have Parliament review the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority Act 2013, which prohibits export of raw agricultural produce such as macadamia and cashew nuts to enjoy higher prices on the international market.
The farmers reckon that local prices have been depressed by the lobby, arguing increased supply of the nuts has allowed the processors to influence rates of the raw materials like macadamia — which has dropped from Sh170 in 2012 a kilogramme to the current price of Sh40.
“Scrap off the macadamia from the prohibitory Act no 13 of 2013 to enable a competitive trade among the farmers, marketers and processors,” Nahashon Mugi, a macadamia farmer told the National Assembly Agriculture Committee.
“A thorough investigation in which the relationship between Nuts and Oils Crops Directorate (NOCD) and Nutpak which we believe gang up to expletively control the macadamia industry in the country be launched,” he said.
Nutpak secretary general Charles Muigai said the farmers’ concerns are misplaced since macadamia prices have been falling globally.
“The poor pricing of macadamia is not unique to Kenya,” said Mr Muigai.
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