Relief for macadamia farmers as Linturi lifts ban on exports

Peter Ngige, a macadamia farmer, tends to his crops at Gikondi village in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County, on July 11, 2018. [File, Standard]

Macadamia farmers look forward to better returns after the government offered them a temporary export window for in-shell nuts. 

The government has suspended Section 43 of the Agriculture and Food Authority Act which banned the export of in-shell nuts.

Nine companies licensed to process macadamia nuts which have, since March, faced severe challenges due to the lack of the international market got relief after the government lifted a ban on exporting macadamia.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said he had lifted the ban for three months to address the price crisis the farmers have been facing, granting authority to macadamia processors to look for alternative markets.

A circular by the CS reads in part: “The temporal lifting of the ban will facilitate access to the alternative market for the macadamia nuts originating from Kenya.''

 Agriculture and Livestock Development CS Mithika Linturi before the Committee on Delegated Legislation at parliament in Nairobi on June 13, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Ministry further directed the processors to buy the commodity from farmers at the negotiated price of not less than Sh100 per kilogramme of the raw nuts.

Between March and July, hundreds of farmers flooded the streets in the major towns hawking the nuts at between Sh30 and Sh50 per kilogramme.

Linturi copied his circular lifting the ban to the Treasury and Trade cabinet secretaries, Njuguna Ndung'u and Moses Kuria, respectively, as well as AFA and KRA, among others.

The firms have been directed to obtain the requisite registration from AFA before they venture into the export business. 

Mr Johnson Kiharu, who is the chairman of an association that brings together traders of the nuts, said the lifting of the ban will go a long way in boosting their earnings and saving them from losses.

Kiharu and another official of the association, Ndirangu Nyorotha, called on Linturi to look into the possibility of removing Section 45 of the AFA Act saying it is too punitive.

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