How Profitable is Macadamia Nuts?

August 8, 2018 Hansie Britz

                             

Macadamia nuts are quickly becoming an important crop in South Africa and are possible the fastest growing tree crop industry in the country.

OPPORTUNITIES

The volume of Macadamia nuts exported has grown tremendously over the past few years and is expected to increase in the future. South Africa is tapping into new markets in China and Hong Kong. A number major growers have already received accreditation for Global GAP and the rest of the industry is aware of the need to follow fast in their footsteps. Worldwide demand for Macadamia nuts exceeds supply and the market is expected to even grow further. The use of Macadamia nuts in as an ingredient in confectionery and baking presents a huge opportunity.

PROFITABILITY

Macadamia nuts are hard to beat when it comes to the most lucrative crop per land area used in South Africa. According to statistics from the SA Macadamia Growers Association (SAMAC), the average export price for macadamia kernels in 2017 was R224.15/kg. The price for nuts in a shell was an average of R75.58/kg. 

A single mature macadamia tree can produce anything from 16 kilograms to 32 kilogram of nuts in the shell depending on the variety. That is a yield of R1200 per tree – at a minimum. At around 312 trees per hectare, that should deliver R374 400 per hectare.

CAPITAL NEEDED

Apart from the land and housing you will also need money for the following:-

* trees, land preparation and tree establishment;

* a shed for storage, post harvest handling and drying;

* an irrigation system including piping and under-tree sprinklers;

* a tractor – about 90hp;

* a slasher;

* a  trailer: and

* a boom sprayer for herbicides.

SOIL

Macadamias grow on a a wide range of free-draining soils but perform best on deep, well-drained soils, rich in organic matter. For successful commercial production, a minimum depth of 0,5m of friable, well-drained soil is essential. A depth of 1m is preferred, as this minimizes the risk from trunk canker disease and tree decline. However, be aware that extremely well-drained spoils may be a problem in drought years, if not irrigated. Avoid soils with heavy clay or rock bars within 1m of the surface.

WIND PROTECTION

Protection from strong winds is desirable, either through natural forest surrounds or planted windbreaks. Macadamia trees are brittle and breakages occur easily, particular during storms in highly exposed sites. Wind can also slow growth in young trees and may cause premature fall of young, immature nuts.

FIRE RISK

As macadamias are highly susceptible to fire damage, take the fire risk of surrounding bush-land into account when purchasing land. This can be minimized by preventing the build up of long grass in dry years.

CONTACT US NOW IF YOU NEED HELP IN THIS AREA OR WITH A PROFESSIONAL FARMING BUSINESS PLAN.

(27) 11 704 1248 or (27)84 683 3143 or money@global.co.za