Nuts

Macadamias: twisted sales

May 27, 2024 at 10:59 AM , Der AUDITOR
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CANBERRA/REUS. China and Hong Kong purchased a record volume exceeding 90,000 mt of in-shell macadamias in 2023. Strange sales patterns have emerged in South Africa, Australia and Kenya. Drought is an issue in Mexico and Guatemala. Global production estimates are upbeat for 2024.

Rise in global production

Forecasts for the 2024 crop year show that global in-shell macadamia production will rise by 7% to 339,200 mt as the Australian Macadamia Society reports based on the round table discussion held at the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Congress in Vancouver. Although harvesting is still underway in South Africa, the leading producing country, and it is difficult to assess final figures at present, the crop size is expected to rise by 15%. The quality is also encouraging. Yet, the local industry is concerned about the high volumes sold as in-shell nuts and the impact this will have on the kernel market. Trouble is that suppliers sell inshells for quick cash meaning that less volumes will be available for producing kernels.

Strange sales patterns

China will only witness a nominal uptick of 1% in production as flowering was good but dry weather then set in. This was the case in the main producing province of Yunnan, which is expected to supply 57,000 mt this year. Challenging weather conditions also prevailed in Guangxi, where production should range at 10,000 mt, and in Guangdong, where production is estimated at 2,000 mt. China bought record volumes of inshells in 2023 with online retailers running aggressive promotional activities being the main driver. Issue is that demographics are changing with younger consumers trying out new products with innovative taste, which include snacks and bakery foods containing macadamias.

In Australia the current crop year has started with better farmgate prices and higher demand. Domestic consumption has risen in the past twelve months. Despite rain causing disruptions in some places at the start of the harvest, production is expected to grow by 16%. As more inshells were sold than anticipated in 2023 and the production estimates for last year have been revised downwards the 2023 kernel inventories are not as high as expected. Sales should return to more normal ratios for inshells and kernels this year.

As new plantings are bearing fruit in Kenya initial projections show that production is expected to rise by 8%. Yet, growers report that they have witnessed an extensive period of continuous rains. A change in regulations permitted the country to ship large in-shell volumes to China and low farmgate prices to be paid. The government will review these regulations in November.

Drought in America

Brazil is set to witness the largest production decline of 15% in 2024 as the country is suffering from drought. Good news, however, is that domestic consumption has picked up a bit since macadamias have gained in popularity as an ingredient in bread and ice cream. Although dry weather is also a problem in Guatemala, production will rise as the country is starting to witness the impacts of improved industry cohesion and collaboration. Production is also on the rise in Mexico and Costa Rica, which are expecting crop sizes of 2,000 mt and 5000 mt respectively in 2024.

Global macadamia production (mt)

Country

2023

2024

Diff.

South Africa

79,700

92,000

15.4%

China

67,900

68,500

0.9%

Australia

48,400

56,000

15.7%

Kenya

42,500

46,000

8.2%

USA

15,100

15,000

-0.7%

Guatemala

14,500

15,000

3.4%

Malawi

12,540

12,000

-4.4%

Vietnam

9,000

10,000

11.1%

Brazil

7,685

6,500

-15.5%

Colombia

1,100

1,100

0.0%

Others

17,000

17,100

0.5%

Total

315,425

339,200

7.5%

In-shell, 3.5% moisture content
Macadamias South Africa, Australian macadamia Society, China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Nuts Processors Association of Kenya, USDA, Malawi Macadamia Association, Brazilian Macadamia Association and other INC sources
INC May 2024

 

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