Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • International Nut Council issues increased global macadamia nut forecast

    May 23rd, 2017

    Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC) has announced key outcomes for the macadamia industry from the annual International Nut Council (INC) conference hosted 19 - 21 May 2017 in Chennai, India.Representation from South Africa included macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, peanuts and raisins. Alex Whyte, general manager GFNC, is South Africa’s ambassador to this anchor event which provides a macro perspective, setting the tone for the industry at large.

    New macadamia nut in-shell crop forecast figures were released up by 14 956 mt from 178 596 mt in 2016 to 193 462 mt in 2017, representing an 8.4% increase.South Africa continues to expand at 1500 hectares a year - it has however reduced it’s in-shell crop forecast to 41 430 mt for 2017 due to ongoing impacts of recent drought. Kenya and Australia continue to expand their plantings rapidly - given this, and should favourable weather conditions persist in South Africa, a bumper crop is expected for 2018.

    China is set to become a major global macadamia producer with Ms Chen, from the Yunnan Macadamia Society, reporting that China has planted 185, 000 hectares. Expectation is to have 330,000 hectares planted by 2030. Presently yields from China are poor due to many of the trees being on steep mountain slopes and the Australian Macadamia Society are advising the Chinese on horticultural practice and cultivar selection to improve this.

    “Macadamia nuts constitute a relatively small part of the overall nut industry by comparison to almonds and cashews for example. However, it is set to grow exponentially and managing this responsibly is paramount to maintaining profitability and sustainability”, said Alex Whyte, general manager, GFNC.“Key to handling the increase in crop include investment into processing facilities as well as developing new markets. Driving awareness and creating new markets needs to work in hand with processors in ensuring product is readily available, on shelf, to meet consumer demand,” continued Whyte

    “Currently macadamia nuts are 80% consumed as a snack and the remaining 20% used as an ingredient. With other nuts, like almonds, it’s the opposite - 80% are used as an ingredient and 20% consumed as a snack. For macadamia nuts, this ratio is symptomatic of an immature industry and therein lies the opportunity to develop the market and absorb increased supply whilst ensuring prices remain buoyant.However, the challenge is to remain food safe - food safety requirements are much stricter as an ingredient that as a snack, and product recall is much more expensive as an ingredient than a snack,” said Whyte.

    Increasingly stringent food safety requirements and health benefits of macadamia nuts were also fundamental to discussion at the event. In the U.S. 75% investment at factory level in the nut industry at large is on food safety which demonstrates its importance. Macadamia nuts seem to be developing a poor reputation with regards to food safety due to a fragmented industry with many processors, some of which are unable to invest in the equipment needed to produce a food safe product.

    A 200,000 Euro joint-funded research project has been undertaken by a number of macadamia nut industry bodies to develop a unique stand-point for the product. Currently research available around the health benefits of macadamias shows that they are healthy, but results are fairly superficial when viewed alongside the investment other nut industries have made into research.

    For more information, please contact:

    Annelle Botha

    Green Farms Nut Company

    Tel: +27 0711638719