Nuts

Macadamias: too attractive for Hawaii

February 7, 2023 at 11:27 AM , Der AUDITOR
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CANBERRA/WASHINGTON, D.C. Macadamias South Africa (SAMAC) has raised the production estimates for 2022. Farmers in Kenya are prompted to switch from coffee to the highly attractive nut and China has issued simply unbelievable production estimates. Global production and demand are on the rise. Yet, not everyone is happy.

Hawaii cannot compete

Australian Macadamias anticipates at 24% rise in global inshell production to 300,213 mt in the December 2022 market report. While Australia’s own production only rose by a moderate 3%, sharp increases have been observed in South Africa, Kenya and China. SAMAC may have initially estimated production in South Africa at 57,723 mt but has revised this figure upwards to 70,139 mt, which is 31% up on the 53,320 mt produced in 2021. Production also rose by 55% in Kenya, where farmers are profiting from high return rates, which are prompting many to switch from coffee to macadamias as local media report. Illegal smuggling is, however, a problem.

Although China officially reckons that production nearly doubled to 65,000 mt, reports indicate that the real figure comes closer to 50,000 mt. Despite the floods witnessed last year, Australia’s production is nominally up at 52,974 mt. Hawaii is the only place, where production declined in 2022. As media reports indicate some local processors have stopped purchasing from local producers and now rather rely on cheaper imports from South Africa and Kenya. Fear is that the international supply glut will continue to spell bad news for local production.

Macadamia production, inshell, in mt

Country

2021

2022

Diff.

South Africa

53,320

70,139

31%

Kenya

42,000

65,000

55%

China

32,000

62,500

95%

Australia

51,500

52,974

3%

Others

62,600

49,600

-23%

Total

241,420

300,213

24%

Australian Macadamias, SAMAC

Sharp rise in US imports

Australian Almonds further notes that global demand for macadamias is still on the rise. Imports to the top five kernel markets rose by 16% to 28,160 mt between October 2021 and September 2022 as compared with the same period in 2020/2021. Yet, there is a difference as growth was only noted in imports to the USA, Europe and Japan and China/Hong Kong, whereas shipments to Australia’s domestic market dropped.

Driven by attractive prices and the decline in production in Hawaii import demand has accelerated in the USA in 2022/2023. According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) the United States imported 46.555 million lbs (21,117 mt) of fresh and dried macadamia nuts worth USD 100.658 million between July and November 2022. While the import volume has more than tripled on the 9.873 million lbs (4,478 mt) recorded in the same period in 2021, the import value has risen by a more moderate 77% on the USD 56.849 million registered in the same period in 2021. South Africa and Kenya are the most important suppliers for the US by far and have gained market shares in 2022/2023. They held market shares of 40.2% and 31.3% respectively in the prior four marketing years 2018/2019-2021/2022.

In the total marketing year 2021/2022, Kenya, however shipped more macadamia nuts the US than South Africa (12.583 million lbs vs 10.339 million lbs) and although South Africa has taken the lead this year so far, the race is certainly still on. Australia, Malawi and Guatemala have also stepped up sales sharply this year so far. Brazil is the only country, which has shipped less macadamia nuts to the United States.

US macadamia nut imports in 1,000 lbs

Origin country

2021/22

2022/23

Diff.

South Africa

3,155

18,682

492%

Kenya

4,456

13,541

203%

Australia

24

3,905

16,171%

Malawi

939

6,261

567%

Vietnam

-

1,919

-

Guatemala

532

1,507

183%

Brazil

705

585

-17%

Rwanda

19

46

142%

Costa Rica

43

44

2%

Central African Republic

-

36

-

Others (Mexico)

-

24

-

Total

9,873

46,550

371%

USDA ERS, macadamia nuts, fresh or dried, Jul-Nov

 

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