Macadamia Nuts Farming in Kenya: a Highly Profitable Business
If you have been keen to follow the agribusiness news and trends in Kenya, you must have noted that macadamia nut farming is one investment channel that informed farmers are putting their money into.
The local prices of these nuts have been consistently going up and the international market is also expected to grow by at least 12% by 2025.
By the way, macadamia nut prices in Kenya hit a high of Ksh.220 per kilo.
That’s a pretty impressive future market outlook for current farmers and anyone who wants to invest in the nuts production in our country.
Remember the highest percentage of the nuts we produce here is slightly processed and sold in this international market. That means we are going to benefit directly as the global market expands.
It is so pleasing to see farmers who have abandoned coffee, maize and other crops and gone into macadamia farming smiling; of course because they are now making more money than they were with those earlier crops.
*Is this the right time to invest in Macadamia farming?*
Yes, this is actually the best time to invest in commercial production of this brown gold. So far, the country has over 30 industries buying the nuts from farmers. Most of them simply process the produce for export. That means there is now ready market for your produce.
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.
And it is a fact that the farmers currently producing macadamia in Kenya do not have the capacity to satisfy the demand from these processing companies. That is why the price is currently on an upward trend.
*How long does grafted macadamia take to mature?*
Grafted macadamia trees start fruiting after 2 years and reach an economic production in the third year. At this time, a tree would give you 20 to 30 kilos of nuts per harvest. The production increases steadily over time and by the 7th year, each tree should give an average of 100 kilos per harvest.
You can buy grafted macadamia seedlings from Richfarm Kenya (0724698357).
The rate at which your tree grows and reaches maturity (full production) is also dependent on how well you water it and feed it with the right minerals.
Macadamia trees require a lot of water especially in the hot areas since they have a high transpiration rate – losing water through the leaves.
*Where are macadamia best grown in Kenya?*
Macadamia nuts are mainly grown in the central part of Kenya such as Muranga, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu and Meru. These are the places that the tree was first introduced when it came into Kenya.
With time, the tree has spread to other areas of the country such as Bungoma, Kakamega, Kitale, Machakos and Taita Taveta.
Macadamia trees, especially the Muranga 20 variety, are highly adaptive to different climatic conditions. As such, they can be grown in most parts of the country. However, the cooler and rainy areas seem to be more favorable.
The key ingredient in successful macadamia farming in the lower parts of Kenya is irrigation. The trees will need a significant amount of water especially when they are young in order to grow well.
*How much do macadamia nuts fetch in the Kenyan market?*
While macadamia are the most expensive nuts in the world, it is unfortunate that Kenyan farmers are not yet being paid fairly for their raw nuts. A kilo of the nuts was bought at the highest price of Ksh.230 at the close of the harvesting season in 2019.
This is much lower compared to what farmers in other places in the world get. For example, farmers in Australia earn as much as Ksh.600 per kilo of raw nuts.
*So is macadamia farming in Kenya profitable?*
Well, the macadamia farmers in Kenya still make some good amount of money as profits. We could do a quick calculation here: Mature macadamia trees produce an average of 100 kilos per year.
An acre holds about 80 trees hence a total production of 8000 kilos per acre in a harvest. If this farmer sells their produce at an average of Ksh.150 per kilo, he will have a turnover of Ksh.1.2 million.
The cost of maintaining a mature macadamia orchard will hardly get beyond Ksh.100,000 so the farmer has a cool million to walk home with.
*How much water do macadamia trees need?*
In Kenya, farmers essentially produce macadamia without ever having to irrigate them. But of course you know what that means: their yields are always below the optimum.
For optimum production, a macadamia tree will need at least 40 liters of water every day throughout the flowering and fruiting period. Irrigation should be stopped when the nuts mature to allow them to harden off.
This is a critical fact that anyone seeking to commercially produce macadamia in hot areas that have rains below 800 mm annually.
*Which is the best macadamia variety in Kenya?*
We consider Muranga 20 the best variety of macadamia in Kenya. This is because it adapts well to both cool and hot climates and yield just as high in whichever climate you plant it.
The nut quality and weight is also higher compared to other varieties. Its vigorous growth also means that the farmer does not have to wait for so long before getting their first fruits.
As we always tell you, there’s no marathon race that has ever been won by those who did not start the race. If you like the idea discussed above and you have what it takes to actualize it…then don’t wait to start…just do it.
Also, don`t forget to join our training on Beauty Business. We only have 1 day remaining to start the training.
Kenyans spend over Ksh.5 billion a month buying beauty products. These include bath and shower products, cosmetics, skin care, baby care, oral care and perfume products.
Demand for beauty and cosmetic products in Kenya has grown steadily over the last one decade.
Within those few years, some of the small retailers in this line of business have grown into “supermarket” status and they have opened branches across the region.
Clearly, you don’t need rocket science to understand just how promising this industry is.
Business Man & Mentor