Embu County government will work with farmers and private investors to streamline and regulate macadamia nuts industry which earns local farmers more than Sh260 million every year, Governor Martin Nyagah Wambora has said. Mr. Wambora said his government had come up with strong policies to sustain and accelerate growth and development of the Macadamia sub-sector to reach the targeted potential of Sh700 million earnings per year.
Potential for production is high, standing at target of 10,000 tons per year, a feat which could be achieved through expansion of farms under the tree as well as improved “With streamlined marketing channels, increased use of inputs and good agricultural practices, production can be increased from the current 4995 tones earning farmers more than Sh260 million to over 10,000 tons with an estimated value over Sh700 million” said Mr. Wambora. Some of the policies, the governor said, cover the promotion of value addition and consumption of macadamia, launch strong marketing units as well as creating of legal and regulatory frameworks for the sector. He lauded the recent launch of macadamia processing and packaging factory in Embu known as Privamnuts Kenya Limited. Privamnuts Kenya Limited is spending more than Sh200 million to construct the factory under an Export processing Zone (EPZ) model meaning that about 90% of what it processes and packages will be exported.
Mr. Wambora urged for cooperation among stakeholders in dealing with the various challenges which had affected production and quality of nuts as well as in the value addition chain. Macadamia nuts, Mr. Wambora said, continue to gain importance locally and abroad as awareness and demand for nutritious food has increased hence the need to promote the sectors and introduce safeguards.The governor assured that his government was keen to work with the private sector to ensure the success of the Macadamia sub sector and one of the key areas it had introduced intervention was in the trade and value addition. “The trade and value addition being a very important issue is handled exhaustively with the view of maintaining and improving the quality of nuts and healthy competition among processors,” he said. In future Macadamia farmers in the County will be registered and required to maintain cards as a mean of identifying legitimate farmers, announced the governor. All brokers, agents and intermediaries, the Embu County government insists, will be required to buy macadamia nuts as agents of known processors while price ceilings will be set for various grades of nuts to encourage compliance with quality standards.
Crop maturity zones will be introduced to be in harmony with a crop calendar while marketing period seasons will be maintained to ensure macadamia trees recover after every harvest. Apart from encouraging formation of cooperatives to manage the crop, the Embu County government will oversee the establishment of collection centers and specific buying days and further promote periodical payments modes acceptable within the financial systems available.Digital weighing scales will be mandatory in the buying of macadamia nuts with a county macadamia priced dialogue mechanisms and platforms being maintained during every crop season.