Nuts

Macadamias: Kenya's growers breathe a sigh of relief

July 25, 2023 at 4:05 PM , Der AUDITOR
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NAIROBI. It is to become easier for Kenyan macadamia farmers to export their goods in the future, and the prices exporters have to pay them will also rise significantly. However, the benefits also come with strings attached, as the Kenyan news page The Star reports.

Prices increase fivefold

A sigh of relief went through the ranks of Kenya's macadamia growers when the government announced its latest decision last week: The prices that exporters have to pay farmers for a kilogram of raw macadamia nuts are to increase significantly within the next two weeks. Senators from Kenya's counties had long been urging the government to allow farmers to export their produce and trade directly with foreign operators in order to bypass cartels and middlemen, according to Kenyan news site The Star. At a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, Kello Harsama, the PS in charge of crop development, said exporters had been instructed to buy the nuts from farmers at a price of 100 Kenya shillings per kilo instead of the previous 20.

Quality must be guaranteed

The committee was chaired by James Murango, senator from Kirinyaga County. Murango has been trying to protect farmers from being exploited by middlemen for a while now. “We wrote to the Ministry to open up market for more exporters, and also help the farmers to increase the macadamia prices. We are glad they have done that,” The Star quotes Murango. Macadamia prices have dropped from KSH 200/kg to just a tenth within a few years, and the senators see the reason for this in the coronavirus pandemic, from which the world market has not yet been able to recover. The massive losses of the growers are now to be counteracted by the measure, and local processing will also be supported.

However, speaking to The Star, Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) acting Director-General Willis Audi indicated that the authority charges an annual licence fee of 10,000 Kenya shillings to exporters and is keen on strict regulations to ensure coordinated exports. “Our concern is that being an export-oriented crop, we want to make sure the produce meant for export meets the quality standards. There are also challenges of cartels if we open up the market,” Audi said.

German imports down by almost a third

The fact that the world market has not yet been able to fully recover - and has little chance of doing so at present due to factors such as the Ukraine war and inflation - is also evident in German macadamia imports, among other things. These have fallen by almost 30% year-on-year: In the period September 2022 to May 2023, the country imported only 2,523 mt. The most important supplier remains South Africa, whose shipments to Germany, however, have declined by a whopping 41.9%, followed by Kenya and Australia. All major suppliers suffered losses in their exports to Germany in the aforementioned period.

Macadamia* imports, Germany, in mt

Supplier

2021/22

2022/23

Diff.

South Africa

1.486

863

-41.9%

Kenya

715

712

-0.4%

Australia

529

455

-14.0%

Netherlands

432

417

-3.5%

Malawi

175

21

-88.0%

Guatemala

24

14

-41.7%

Others

235

41

-82.6%

Total

3.596

2.523

-29.8%

Federal Statistical Office of Germany / Sep-May

*08026200 Fresh or dried macadamia nuts, shelled

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