The macadamia sector in Africa has been growing rapidly in recent years, with several countries increasing their production and exports of macadamia nuts. The main macadamia-producing countries in Africa are South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, with smaller production also occurring in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Swaziland.
In South Africa, macadamia nuts are a major agricultural commodity and are grown mainly in the northern regions of the country, including Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa is the largest producer of macadamia nuts in Africa, accounting for around 50% of the continent’s production. The South African macadamia industry is export-oriented, with most of the crop being shipped to markets in Europe, the United States, and Asia.
In Kenya, the macadamia sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, with the country now being the second-largest producer of macadamia nuts in Africa. The sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who grow macadamia trees alongside other crops, such as coffee and tea. The Kenyan macadamia industry is also export-oriented, with China being the largest market for Kenyan macadamia nuts.
The Malawian macadamia industry is still in its early stages, but production is increasing rapidly. Most of the macadamia nuts produced in Malawi are exported to South Africa, where they are processed and then exported to other markets.
In Zimbabwe the macadamia industry has also been growing in the recent years, with most of the macadamia nuts produced in the country being exported to South Africa for processing and export.
Here are some key statistics and prices for the macadamia sector in Africa:
- Production: According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the top five African countries producing macadamia nuts in 2020 were:
- South Africa: 54,000 tons
- Kenya: 41,000 tons
- Malawi: 15,000 tons
- Zimbabwe: 4,000 tons
- eSwatini (formerly Swaziland): 3,000 tons
- Prices: The prices of macadamia nuts in Africa have been relatively stable in recent years, with occasional fluctuations due to supply and demand dynamics. As of February 2023, the average wholesale price of macadamia nuts in South Africa was around ZAR 72 per kilogram (USD 4.84), while in Kenya it was around KES 180 per kilogram (USD 1.63).
- Exports: In 2020, Africa exported 36,800 tonnes of macadamia nuts, with the majority going to China, the United States, and Europe. The export value of African macadamia nuts was estimated at $229 million in 2020.
- Market demand: The demand for macadamia nuts is expected to continue growing in the coming years, driven by increasing consumer awareness of the health benefits of macadamia nuts and their use in a variety of food products.. The global macadamia nut market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% between 2020 and 2025. However, the sector faces challenges such as high cost of production, limited processing capacity, inadequate infrastructure in some African countries and competition from other nut-producing countries such as Australia and the United States.
- Employment: The macadamia nut industry in Africa provides employment opportunities for thousands of people, both in large-scale commercial farms and smallholder farms. In South Africa, for example, the macadamia industry is estimated to provide direct employment to around 10,000 people and indirect employment to another 30,000 people.
Predominantly, the macadamia sector in Africa is growing and it presents opportunities for farmers and exporters, particularly as demand for macadamia nuts continues to increase globally.