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Embu County in bid to reverse low macadamia prices

By Joseph Muchiri | May 16th 2016

EMBU, KENYA: Embu county government is exploring an engagement with macadamia processors that would cushion farmers from wide price fluctuations.
Governor Martin Wambora said the county was considering cooperation with major stakeholders in the macadamia industry meant to stabilise prices of nuts.
Wambora raised concern at the current low prices of Sh50 per kg of macadamia offered to farmers and attributed it to a glut in the international market.
"Farmers want to earn at least Sh100 per kg of macadamia nuts and we feel that is a good price. We are encouraging the players in the industry to set up a stabilisation fund that will shield farmers from low prices during times of high supply," he said.
Wambora said the county government had gone an extra mile to seek for international market of macadamia from large scale buyers in Hawaii, Australia, Japan and China.
The county government has in the last year been promoting production of more macadamia by provision of seedlings and encouraging public private partnerships, which have seen a privately owned nut factory, set up at Muthatari.
Recently, farmers urged the county government to shield them from big tumbles in prices by enacting a law setting up the minimum price of a kilogram of macadamia at Sh100.
Macadamia processing firms and middlemen are offering Sh45 to Sh60 per kilogram up from highs of between Sh100 to Sh150 last season and the previous years.
The farmers decried cartels in the macadamia value chain claiming they were employing underhand tactics to ensure prices remain low so that they can multiply their profit margins.
Wambora said he was working closely with national government agriculture ministry to stump out cartels in the tea, coffee and other crops that he said exploit farmers.

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