Kenya set to host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium as the world goes crazy over the hard pricey nuts

Kenya set to host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium as the world goes crazy over the hard pricey nuts
  • Kenya has won the global recognition to host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium in August 2021.
  • 800 delegates are expected to attend the festival which is held every two years.
  • Kenya has about 200,000 small farms which currently produce an estimated 42,500 tonnes in-shell nuts.

Kenya is set to hold a bi-annual International conference expected to be graced by experts, scholars, entrepreneurs and growers around the world as the world goes nuts over Macadamia.

Kenya has won the global recognition to host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium in August 2021.

Nut Processors Association of Kenya (NutPAK) CEO Charles Muigai said the country was chosen to host the event due to the success of the sector through small-scale farming, which typifies the country’s production system.

The symposium's prevailing sentiment was that all macadamia producing regions need to work towards increasing investment in production and marketing,” said Muigai.

800 delegates are expected to attend the festival which is held every two years.

Kenya is one of Macadamia’s small-large scale producers while countries such as China, South Africa and Australia deal with large-scale plantations.

China supports the lucrative macadamia sector by pumping funds towards the International Macadamia Research and Development Center purposely established to promote the industry.

China now has up to 200,000 hectares under plantation and will be the fourth-largest producer this year at around 20,000 tonnes.

"Up to 80 per cent of farms in the largest growing region of Yunnan are owned by small growers, with the government supporting them,” Mr Muigai said.

Kenya, on the other hand, has about 200,000 small farms which currently produce an estimated 42,500 tonnes in-shell nuts, constituting about 20 per cent of global supply, according to NutPAK.

In recent years, more and more Kenyan farmers have been tempted to switch coffee farming for the hard nuts due to high demand and friendly prices.

Prices for unshelled nuts have risen to as high as 180 shillings ($1.80) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) this season from about 70 shillings at the start in December, and may climb to 200 shillings, according to Alfred Busolo, head of Kenya’s state-run Agriculture and Food Authority.

Last year’s symposium estimated global production to increase from the current 200,000 tonnes to 276,000 tonnes in 2020.

"As the world moves towards the production volumes forecast for 2020, a sound marketing strategy will be required in order to drive the demand needed to soak up the growing supply,” Mr Muigai said.

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