The drought that hit different parts of South Africa might have left a lot of farmers devastated. But Macadamia farmers in Mpumalanga are looking forward to raking in huge profits this harvesting season, thanks to an increased demand from United States and China markets amid current economic conditions.
With the harvesting season in full swing, more nuts are being brought into factories for processing.
Products are exported to the US and China.
Valley Macadamias Group’s Alanan Sutton says, “This year, it’s been a difficult year, agriculturally for the farmers because the drought has obviously reduced the yields and affected the size and proportions of the nuts. But market conditions are looking pretty good with regards to the exchange rate; the rand/dollar exchange is in favour of farmers and the market conditions overseas are very good because the demand for the produce is high.”
A kilogram of macadamia nuts sold at about five dollars this year, that’s over R75 in local currency.
It was less than that the previous year. Buyers are, however, insisting on quality nuts.
Sutton says, “The emphasis is on the farmer to produce a better quality nut, which can be exported into the market, of which they will be prepared to pay for it. But obviously, they are not going to pay for rubbish. They want quality.”
Farmers like Kobus Pieters are excited about the current market conditions. They are expanding their production by employing new farming techniques.
He says, “I am farming for four years now. It’s also something new for me. I am happy that I am in the industry and I am looking forward to the next 25 years in this industry, maybe 40 years. Let’s see how the markets do.”
The macadamia industry is expected to create more job opportunities in future.