Farmers reap big as macadamia prices rise

Macadamia in gunny bags after a harvest at Gatitu village in Nyeri on March 27, 2024. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Macadamia farmers in Nyeri are staring at better times as prices begin to rise in the 2024 season.

Currently, a kilogram of macadamia is retailing at between Sh90 and Sh105, up from Sh20 per kg registered last year.

Simion Kimondo, a broker at Gatitu, said that the macadamia market has opened up and many companies are buying the product for export.

“This year, the macadamia market has opened up and we are buying various varieties that include Muiri grafted at Sh100 per kilo gram and Tetra variety for Sh80 per kilogram,” he said.

Kimondo said this is an improvement compared to last year when a kilo of Muiri variety was selling at Sh20 while Tetra did not have any market forcing farmers to hawk it in open food markets.

He noted that the Macadamia season starts in March and can go on for three to four months. The macadamia broker said one of the challenges facing the product is the lack of market.

“The company buying the produce does not have a sustainable and predictable market, they can buy for two weeks then stop,” Kimondo said.

He explained that the company seeks high-quality produce and 80 per cent should have matured, average size and non-infected macadamia.

Kimondo said that the companies are buying and exporting the produce to China where the market is open, sustainable, and pays well.

"The farmers are paid on delivery and this improves their economic status it is a cash-based transaction," he said.

He disclosed that the Muiri variety is preferred by the Chinese market since it matures early and has a good round shape compared to tetra takes which takes time to mature and its shell is rough.

Beatrice Gathoni, a macadamia farmer from Kiamuiru village, said last year was bad for most farmers.

At Muthinga, Simon Macharia a broker, said the macadamia market has opened up and the produce goes for between Sh90 to Sh105 per kg.

"People here depend on macadamia it employs people working at the selling point in the shamba and the chain continues," Macharia noted.

The season is expected to continue till May.

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