FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON MACADAMIA VALUE CHAIN
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON MACADAMIA VALUE CHAIN
- What is Macadamia?
- Macadamia is a tree which produces macadamia nuts; the most expensive nut on the world market. The tree span stretches from 80 to 100 years
- Tree (Macadamia integrifolia) belong to the genus Macadamia which contains four species of tree or shrub in the family Proteaceae which are grown for their edible seeds (nuts)
- Is a fast growing, regular shaped, medium-sized and evergreen tree with heavy, dark and green foliage.
- Nut has a smooth hard shell which encases the kernel in a leathery two valved case that is 1 inch in diameter.
- Tree performs well in diverse, deep, well-drained soils with a PH range of 5.0 – 6.5.
- Requires an average temperature range of 16-30°C and a rainfall of 500- 600mm per annum and at altitude of 500 – 600 meters above sea level, however at higher altitude above 640meters, the growth is much slower.
- Why Macadamia?
- Has a high potential for income generation at household and estate level?
- Its ability to fix carbon dioxide makes it suitable for carbon farming hence sustainably contributing to mitigation of climate change and therefore environment protection
- Macadamia nuts are used for confectionary, baking, ice cream and snack food industries.
- Its high oil content, cushiony skin feels and high oxidative stability makes it suitable for heavy creams and skin care formulas
- Macadamia nut consumption may significantly reduce heart disease risk.
- Oil that is extracted from the culled nuts is commonly used in soaps, sunscreens, and shampoos while the remaining press cake can be used for animal feeds.
- Macadamia is rich in calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
- The shells can be used as mulch, as fuel in macadamia nut processing and husks are used as mulch or compost manure.
- The site should be well drained, free of stones, rocks or free from any impermeable layers and gentle slopes of less than 4 degrees angle.
- Prepare the field three (3) months in advance by clearing, removal of tree stumps and plough at least two (2) times for proper crop establishment.
- Mark the field to determine the number of plant population using pegs.
- Dig the holes measuring length (75cm) x width (75cm) x height (75cm) as described in no 9 below
- Backfill the hole with organic manure fixed with top soil at a ratio of 1:1
- Select varieties that are high yielding, pest and disease tolerant and adapted to local climatic conditions.
- Plant at a depth of
- How long does it take to mature?
A well-managed tree produces mature fruits between 4 and 5 years depending on variety and levels of management.
- How much money can a farmer make and in how long?
- Establishment of 1 acre of macadamia requires a starter up capital of UGX 4.7M= in the first year.
- From the 2nd year up to 4th year, a farmer will require about UGX 3,330,000 per year to meet the variable costs.
- Up to the 4th year, when a farmer starts harvesting, he/she will have spent an estimated total of UGX 16.2M
- From the 4th year, the farmer starts selling and progressively recovering what he/she spent up to the 8th year when he/she fully recovers (breaks even) and makes a profit of UGX 4M. From this year, a farmer starts making profit progressively for the rest of the 80 to 100 years, while he/she spends between UGX 4M to 5M on variable expenses per year, depending on location, age/size of the trees and management level.
- Is the market for the produce/products guaranteed ?
- Macadamia nuts and oil are traded globally Globally, the supply of Macadamia nuts as at 2023 is 50,000 mts against an approximated demand of 76,700Mts. In 2030, the supply is expected to increase to 100,000 mts while the demand is approximated at 121,900 mts
- Private sector continues to position itself on the global market by trading both nuts in shell, nuts out of shell and oil yet a limited scale. By June 2023, there will be at least 5 processing facilities established in different parts of the country
- Government has partnered with three large scale farmers as Nucleus Farmers to promote macadamia through production of quality seedlings, increasing production on their own farms but also through a network of out grower schemes, adding value to the nuts produced and trading quality products on the global market.
5.1 External (International & Regional) markets
- The Macadamia market externally include; United States of America (Leading buyers) followed by Europe, China, Netherlands and Vietnam.
- Kenya can also by the nuts and exports them to the larger markets
- Cosmetic Industries
5.2 Internal (Domestic) Markets
Macadamia Raw Nuts
- Small processors are the major buyers.
- Amafh Farms Ltd. (“AFL”) in Mityana has ready market for the nuts in Uganda given that he is the leading producer and exporter of Macadamia products and the market demand abroad is high for him to satisfy
6. Kernels (processed nuts out of shell)
- Markets for Kernels include; Supermarkets, Hotels and Individual Foreign and Local Communities
- How much is a kg
- Currently the price per kg of exportable nuts in shell ranges from UGX 3,500 to UGX 5,000 per kg depending on the market one is selling to.
- What is the yield per tree and per acre?
At 4 years a well-managed tree produces an average of 5kg nuts, at 5years an average of 15kg, at 6 years an average of 25kgs, at 7th year an average of 35kgs and the production keeps increasing per year and harvest season. After the 10th year a tree is expected to yield not less than 100kgs all factors held constant. Accordingly, an acre planted with 75 trees at 5th year will yield 1,125 kgs, at 6th year 1,875 kgs , at 7th year 2,625kgs and 7,500kgs after the 10th year.
Please note the yields vary with location, season, variety, management level and age of the tree.
- How many trees go in one acre and what spacing?
- 100 trees per acre at a spacing of 8 meters by 5meters. This spacing works best for Kiambu variety whose canopy doesn’t spread out as much. However for Muranga and Kirinyanga varieties, farmers are discouraged to use this spacing because the trees close in after the 8th to 10th year necessitating cutting down some to create space.
- 75 trees per acre at spacing of 7.5 meters by 7.5meters
- 45 trees per acre at spacing of 10 meters by 10 meters. This spacing is suitable where a farmer has to intercrop with Coffee; a practice that is still being understudied
- How does one know when to harvest?
- Macadamia nuts are ready to harvest when the fruits start cracking and falling down
- Harvesting can be done by hand or mechanically; harvesting is done by hand when the nuts have matured and fallen down on the ground. This is vital during periods of extended wet seasons and in areas with steep slopes where mechanical harvesting is impossible.
- Mechanically, the harvesting can be done with a hand operated finger-wheel harvester.
- For good quality nuts, clear the area beneath the tree and collect fallen nuts timely.
- Which places are suitable for growing Macadamia?
Macadamia tree best thrives in subtropical and tropical climates where temperatures should not exceed 35°C nor fall below 15°C. This makes most parts of Uganda suitable for macadamia cultivation. It grows best in deep, sandy loam, moist and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.0 – 6.5.
Currently, according the recently concluded baseline survey on Hass and Macadamia by NAADS Secretariat, macadamia is grown in few areas in Uganda, mainly in western districts of Kyegegwa, Kabarole, Hoima, Kagadi, Kamwenge, Kasese, Kibaale and Mbarara, and in central (Wakiso, Mityana and Mubende). Other districts include
Agago; Omoro; Lomwo; Lira; Dokolo; Apac; Kwania; Mayuge; Kayunga; Wakiso; Masaka; Mukono; Fort Portal; Kyenjojo; Nakaseke; Luwero; Mbarara; Kabale; Kanungu; Kitagwenda; Sembabule; Kiryandongo; Kagadi; Masindi; Kibaale; Kamuli; Iganga and Mbale.
- Are they resistant to pests and diseases?
No they are not.
- The major pests include; Macadamia nut borer (Cryptophlebia ombrodelta), Ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus affinis), Broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), Longhorned grasshoppers (Conocephalus saltator), Macadamia leaf miners, scale insects, macadamia twig-girdler, macadamia felted coccid, Flower thrips (Taenothrips hawaiiensis)
The major diseases that affect Macadamia include; Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) causing black lesions on leaves and fruits, Macadamia root rot (Kretzschmaria clavis), truck canker (Phytophthora cinnamomic), Die back and Phytophtora capsici or Botrytis cinereal which can cause flower abortion
Note: For control measures refer to the Macadamia Production guides/Brochures/Fliers produced by Amafh Farms, Royal Plant Nurseries Ltd, NAADS, MAAIF and NARO. You can also call the Partner who supplied you with seedlings and/or the nearest Government Extension Officer.
- Hope government will not take over like it is doing with coffee.
Apparently Government is highly committed to providing full support to the development and promotion of the macadamia value chain. It’s the reason it has in part partnered with Large scale farmers who are promoting the crop and in production but more importantly having presence in the global market. Government is also working very closely with other emerging private sector entities engaged in the value addition and export of the crop.
- Where can farmers find good quality/genuine and certified seedlings
- As mentioned earlier, Government has partnered with three large scale farmers as Nucleus farmers to produce high quality seedlings for farmers/out growers.
- The seedlings are, before every planting season assessed for conformity to the specifications set by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and NAADS
- What are causes of high mortality rates of seedlings in the field
- Planting immature seedlings of less than 9 months after grafting
- Planting seedlings that are less than the recommended grafting height of 30cm
- Covering the union point with soil and this is very common with plantlets that are less than 30cm high
- Transportation stress and damages; ferrying seedlings from distant places leading to getting damaged during transit
- Supply of seedlings during a dry spell against inadequate access to water
- Poor seedling management; supplying seedling that have been uprooted from their original pots
- Lack of training; most farmers receive/buy seedlings when they are not adequately trained and prepared to get started
- What other opportunities for business are available in the Hass Avocado value chain
- Establishment of a mother garden for production and sale of quality scions
- Production of quality seedlings
- Provision of other related agro inputs including fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
- Becoming an out grower
- Working as a technical advisor/extension worker for out growers
- Provision of consultancy services to different value chain actors
- Value addition to the Macadamia nuts
- Sale of various products to local and foreign markets