KENYA – Kenyan macadamia farmers can now breathe a sigh of relief after the government temporarily lifted an eight-year ban on the export of raw macadamia envisioned to help stabilize the prices that have sunk drastically low, reports Business Daily.
The good news was revealed by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria who said that the ban will be lifted for one year to open up the market to global buyers, a move that will see growers fetch more from their produce.
According to Kuria, the ban has occasioned a dip in prices to Ksh20 a kilo down from Ksh150-200 a year ago.
The move follows the ban that was imposed in 2015 under Section 43 of the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) prohibiting the export of raw nuts.
The Act stated that; “A person shall not export raw cashew nuts, pyrethrum, bixa, macadamia or any other agricultural product as may be prescribed, except with the written authority of the Cabinet secretary.”
During the ban, the regulation was aimed at empowering local processors, creating jobs, and improving farmers’ earnings but farmers have not benefited despite surged production.
In Kenya, Macadamia farming is one of the most lucrative sectors despite the turbulence in prices. The country has over 20 licensed processors with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes.
The sector has approximately 6,000 farmers in the country, with the majority coming from the Mount Kenya region.
According to the Nuts Traders Association of Kenya, last year, the sector earned Sh4 billion owing to increased production of nuts, hitting 65,000 metric tons.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the trajectory in macadamia production in Kenya increased rapidly during the last decade, from around 11,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell (NIS) production in 2009 to 42,500 tonnes in 2018 representing 20% of global production.
In addition, the country is currently the third top macadamia producer, with a global market share of 13 percent (7,750 tonnes on kernel basis making it one of the most lucrative cash crops in Kenya after tea.
Consequently, increased small-scale production of macadamia nuts in Kenya has won global recognition which saw the country host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium in 2021.