Nuts

Macadamias: Kenya's producers benefit from government decision

February 21, 2024 at 2:22 PM , Der AUDITOR
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NAIROBI/CAPE TOWN. Kenyan market players are already benefiting noticeably from the government's decision to temporarily lift the export ban on unprocessed macadamias. Prices in South Africa have fallen sharply in recent years.

Prices have increased fivefold

As Capital Business reports, a government decision in 2023 has had a significant impact on the Kenyan macadamia market, and in a very positive way. Since December, producers have been allowed to export unprocessed nuts, and experts report that prices have quintupled since then - from KES 20/kg in December to KES 100/kg. The Nuts Traders Association of Kenya welcomes the repeal of the law, as exports have already increased significantly. At a meeting in Sagana, traders, processors and growers stated that more than 1,000 mt of unprocessed macadamia nuts had already been exported to Asian countries in January. The export ban on unprocessed nuts was introduced in 2013 and has proved to be a major disadvantage for exporters, as processed nuts cannot achieve the desired prices on international markets. For the time being, the lifting of the ban is only valid for one year, but the associations and market players are doing everything they can to enforce the regulation for an indefinite period, according to Capital Business.

Larger crop in South Africa

From South Africa, Farmer's Weekly reports that this season, the increase in crop volume due to many new plantings coincides with lower demand, pushing prices down. In 2023, growers received around USD 8.25/kg (around ZAR 152/kg), while the average price in 2022 was still USD 11.50/kg and in 2021 even USD 16.00/kg. Market players are expecting a slight price increase this year, which has already begun. Farmer's Weekly spoke to market player Roelof van Rooyen, who emphasises that the popularity of the respective macadamia varieties plays a decisive role in the price development. Certain varieties are therefore increasingly on offer and farmers have to pay more attention to the quality of their goods. However, demand has risen due to the favourable prices and stocks are running low. Macadamias South Africa estimates the 2023 crop at 77,532 mt (in-shell, 1.5% moisture) – a noticeable increase on the 68,849 mt harvested in the previous year. The estimates for 2024 currently amount to a good 86,000 mt.

Neck-and-neck race for German imports

Kenya and South Africa are the most important suppliers for German macadamia imports. In 2023, German imports totalled 3,764 mt of shelled macadamias. Kenya took first place with 1,160 mt and an increase of 16.7%, while South Africa suffered a decline of 17.6% and slipped to second place. German imports from Australia and Malawi recorded significant increases. Looking at German macadamia imports since the start of the season (September-December 2023), South Africa is currently slightly ahead. The country has supplied 598 mt to Germany so far and is neck-and-neck with Kenya, whose shipments to Germany totalled 528 mt in the period mentioned.

Macadamia* imports, Germany,in mt

Supplier

2022

2023

Diff.

Kenya

994

1,160

16.7%

South Africa

1,372

1,131

-17.6%

Netherlands

633

603

-4.7%

Australia

412

586

42.2%

Malawi

56

180

221.4%

Vietnam

76

37

-51.3%

Others

197

67

-66.0%

Total

3,740

3,764

0.6%

Federal Statistical Office of Germany / Jan-Dec

*08026200 Fresh or dried macadamia nuts, shelled

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