Better marketing vital to prevent macadamia price correction
While macadamia farmers have had a good run in recent years, achieving record high prices for their crops, the volatility of the rand and an expected bumper crop in China are creating uncertainty that the good fortune will last.
Since South Africa has traditionally sent almost half of its crop as nut-inshell (NIS) to China, the significant investment made in local orchards is causing concern about a possible glut in the market in future.
However, speaking at the recent Macadamias South Africa (SAMAC) information day in White River, Mpumalanga, Myles Osborn, SAMAC’s commercial director, noted that on a recent trip to China it became evident that although the country was investing heavily in establishing macadamia orchards, it was not necessarily for commercial purposes. “Macadamias are known as the poverty alleviation tree. The government is providing subsidies of up to US$2 000/ha [about R28 600/ha) for peasant farmers to establish orchards to create an income. But [the use of] fertilisers and pest control is low and we are not expecting the kind of quality that will compete with South African nuts.”
He noted that there were rumours in China that the import tariff for South African nuts could be reduced from 12% to 9%, which would give South African nuts a boost in that market.
Industry bodies in various countries had also agreed to pool their resources to create global marketing campaigns to prevent price corrections, he added.
Coupled with the marketing campaigns, Osborn said producing good-quality nuts was of the utmost importance to increase demand and maintain the high prices.
Juan Winter, managing director of Source, said the average sound kernel recovery in South Africa had improved from 29,3% in 2013 to 32,3% in 2018, while the unsound kernel recovery rate decreased from 4,2% to 2,9% during the same period.
“Early and late stinkbug has had a significant effect on unsound kernel recovery. The Tzaneen area is seeing an upward trend in unsound kernel recovery [due to] stinkbug [infestations].”
On a cultivar level, Winter noted that Beaumont had the lowest incident of early and late stinkbug.
“Hybrids are more affected by late stinkbug while the integrifolia varieties show the biggest vulnerability to early and late stinkbug.” – Lindi Botha