Ma­cadamia project marks fifth har­vest

Vuk'uzenzele - - Ruralgdeenveerlaolpment - Siya Miti

the Ncera Ma­cadamia Farm­ing project, lo­cated a stone’s throw away from Kidd’s Beach in East Lon­don, re­cently yielded fifth har­vest with only a slight dip from last year’s har­vest of 80 tons despite the drought.

Ma­cadamia plants take seven to eight years to reach ma­tu­rity, and are a high-growth and labour-in­ten­sive agri­cul­tural com­mod­ity.

Each of the 300-hectare ma­cadamia projects in the prov­ince has the po­ten­tial to em­ploy in ex­cess of 300 peo­ple on a full­time ba­sis.

At the in­cep­tion stages of the Ncera Ma­cadamia project, be­tween 2005 and 2006, the provin­cial gov­ern­ment in­vested about R60 mil­lion into it.

“About R55.8 mil­lion came from the Depart­ment of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Agrar­ian Re­form and about R4.25 mil­lion was in­vested by the provin­cial eco­nomic devel­op­ment depart­ment. About R6.1 mil­lion came from some of our strate­gic part­ners. Com­mu­ni­ties con­trib­uted with their land and got a share­hold­ing in the business,” said MEC Mlibo Qo­boshiyane.

The money went towards set­ting up the nurs­ery to grow or­chards, set­ting up in­fra­struc­ture, and train­ing and skilling com­mu­ni­ties and work­ers.

Now the farm is bear­ing fruit for its stake­hold­ers in gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Over the past three years the team has re­ceived awards for ex­cel­lent nut qual­ity and cer­tifi­cates from the South African Ma­cadamia Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion for ex­cel­lent nurs­ery au­dits.

Di­rec­tor of Ncera Ma­cadamia Farm­ing Mku­l­uli Pakade said the nuts are of ex­port qual­ity.

“Our nuts are sold all over the world in mar­kets, such as in the United States, Europe, China and many oth­ers. We do stage one and two pro­cess­ing for now, which is de-husk­ing and dry­ing. Then we sell our nuts through Green Farms in Dur­ban, where pro­cess­ing in­cludes crack­ing, styling, pack­ag­ing and brand­ing,” he said.

The project has cre­ated 151 jobs for lo­cals in po­si­tions rang­ing from gen­eral and semi-skilled work­ers to driv­ers, spe­cial­ists, su­per­vi­sors, ad­min staff and se­nior man­age­ment.

“Busi­nesses like ma­cadamia pro­duc­tion are vi­tal in the cre­ation of jobs and

strength­en­ing the coun­try’s economy.

“This is re­ally a great move as we want to en­sure that the East­ern Cape is no longer a labour ex­port­ing prov­ince but a pro­ducer of the coun­try’s food, in­clud­ing ma­cadamia nuts,” MEC Qo­boshiyane said.

East­ern Cape Ncera Ma­cadamia Farm­ing di­rec­tor Mkhu­l­uli Phakade and the East­ern Cape Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Agrar­ian Re­form MEC, Mlibo Qo­boshiyane, off­load a crate full of ma­cadamia nuts, while Ncera Ma­cadamia farm worker, Nonzuk­iso Batyi, looks on.

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