Falling prices hit Macademia nut industry

The macadamia nut industry, struggling with a fall in prices, is aiming to improve yields through the adoption of new varieties and extension services offered by a local processor.

The crop, mostly grown in Central, Coast and Western provinces, yields around 12,000 metric tonnes of  nuts each year. Despite high gains in previous years, farmers and processors are struggling with a fall of almost 50 per cent in world prices, from Sh70 per kilo last year to between Sh30 and Sh40 this year.

Equatorial Nuts Processing Company manager Michael Gatua said last year’s high prices followed the world’s leading producer, Australia, losing much of its crop to bad weather.

“This was only superficial. Farmers should have known that weather is unpredictable,” he said. The drop in market price this year discouraged many farmers, with some even abandoning their trees. But some are weathering the drop.