South Africa world’s biggest macadamia producer

South Africa has surpassed Australia for the second consecutive year to maintain its position as the largest macadamia nut producer in the world. Production has grown by 20% over the past year to contribute 48 000t of the nearly 160 000t produced worldwide.

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“Considering the increase in demand and subsequent level of elevated pricing, the growth bodes well for SA’s macadamia nut farmers,” said Alan Sutton, chairperson of the Valley Macadamia group in a media statement. He recently attended the International Nut and Dried Fruit Congress (INC) held in Melbourne, Australia.

The annual congress was attended by nearly 900 representatives from the nut and dried fruit industry worldwide.

Australia reported that its macadamia nut figures were lagging behind that of SA, due to poor weather conditions over the past few years. This left them with a crop projection of only 40 000t.

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Furthermore, Hawaii has ceased supplying the world market with macadamias due to orchards taken out of production for development and technical issues with its crop.

Sutton said this was a significant development as it removed 20 000t from the world supply. “This will add to the inelasticity of the prices which is seen across the tree nut basket. It augurs very well for the future of the South African macadamia nut industry.”

He said the SA crop was entering a stage of exponential growth as the orchards were maturing. “This will put us in a good position to service the ever increasing demand coming from Asia. Research suggests that within five years, 53% of the world’s population will be in the Asian circle, so that’s where the focus on consumers should be.”

South African processors will be exporting upwards of 55% of the entire local crop to Asia.