Adopt modern macadamia seed varieties, Zim urged
Macadamia farming experts say Zimbabwe has the capacity to lip frog other macadamia farming countries if it increases its hectares and adopts modern macadamia seed varieties that produce more quality nuts.
Zimbabwe is the sixth leading exporter of macadamia nut in shells with experts saying the country has capacity to increase its global market share of the multi-million dollar golden nuts trade.
As part of efforts to find ways of boosting the country’s macadamia production, government through ZimTrade engaged a farming expert from the Netherlands Mr Hans Verweij who is in the country to share notes on how best the country can boost its production capacity.
Mr Verweij says just like maize farming, farmers should take advantage of new varieties of macadamia seeds being developed every year in order to boost its production, adding that government can establish macadamia field centres to help farmers improve on the management of the strategic crop.
“Macadamia nuts farming is a booming business as there is a growing demand of the nuts on the global market. There is, however, need for better management of the macadamia plantations and adoption of better varieties in line with modern trends,” said Mr Verweij.
Local macadamia farmer Innocent Simango concurred with Mr Verweij adding that the macadamia cash crop needs to be ring-fenced by government with Chipinge being declared a special processing zone for the macadamia in order to up production from the current 500 000 metric tonnes per year.
“Macadamia farming should be protected and promoted in order to increase the country’s foreign currency earnings,” Simango said.
Currently, the country’s golden nuts are being sold as nut in shell but the nuts can fetch much more with value edition.