In a significant move to support macadamia farmers in Kenya, the government has taken measures to increase the price of macadamia nuts by a staggering 80%, raising the price per kilo from KES 20 to KES 100. This decision comes as a welcome relief for macadamia farmers who have long struggled with low prices, as it promises to significantly enhance their profits and improve their livelihoods.
The Crop Development Principal Secretary, Kello Harsama, revealed the government’s plan during a session with the Senate’s Agriculture Committee. He announced that exporters would now be required to purchase macadamia nuts from farmers at the new price of KES 100 per kilo, offering them a fairer deal and much-needed financial support.
The move to increase prices follows lobbying efforts by various stakeholders, with Kirinyaga Senator James Murango and the committee chair at the forefront. Senator Murango sought to amend section 43 of the Agriculture and Food Authority, which previously restricted local farmers from directly exporting their macadamia nuts. By removing this restriction, the government aims to eliminate middlemen who have historically exploited farmers and hindered their access to profitable markets.
Murango expressed his satisfaction with the government’s response, stating, “We wrote to the Ministry to open up the market for more exporters, and also help the farmers to increase the macadamia prices. We are glad they have done that.”
During the session, Senator Mundigi raised concerns about the Agriculture Ministry’s hesitance to allow a free macadamia market, which would enable farmers to directly connect with international markets. In response, PS Kello Harsama explained that the ministry had been progressively opening up the macadamia market to allow both raw exports of the crop and its processing by local factories.
He highlighted that Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi recently authorized nine exporters to sell raw macadamia nuts to China for the next three months after a fruitful meeting with them. Additionally, Harsama stated that other exporters and farmers interested in exporting macadamia nuts could seek permission from the cabinet secretary.
The cautious approach to mass raw macadamia exports has been driven by the ministry’s commitment to promoting local processing. In the past year, the number of local processing plants has remarkably increased from five to 38, providing employment opportunities for numerous Kenyans.
“To ensure farmers are not taken advantage of, we have told exporters to make sure the price of a kilo of macadamia rises to KES 100 in the next two weeks,” said PS Kello Harsama during the dialogue with the senators.
He also shed light on the factors that led to the sharp drop in macadamia prices, from KES 200 to KES 20 per kilo, attributing the decline to the global repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic severely impacted the global market, resulting in reduced demand and lower prices for agricultural products like macadamia nuts.
By significantly raising the price of macadamia nuts, the Kenyan government has taken a bold step towards supporting farmers and revitalizing the macadamia industry. This move is expected to uplift rural communities, boost agricultural growth, and enhance the livelihoods of thousands of macadamia farmers across the country.
Stay updated with the latest farming tips and agriculture industry news from Africa by subscribing to our newsletter. Don’t miss out on valuable insights and updates. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to join our farming community and stay connected with us.