Kenya Nut Company Limited is looking for a Public-Private Partnership with the County Government of Busia to venture into macadamia production in the county.
The company’s Business Development Manager, Eric Mwangi, who spoke to the media after paying a courtesy call on Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, said they are looking into ways of developing macadamia, cashew nut and avocado growing in the county.
“We are glad the Governor is ready to partner with us. Macadamia is widely grown in the county because of the favourable weather conditions and we are ready to engage in it from now going to the future.
“We are looking at a partnership in which we shall team up with the county and go into extension services where shall provide the tree seedling, education and support the farmers to grow the crop for posterity and to assist in climate change,” Mwangi said.
During the courtesy call, Ojaamong said the county has a promising potential for macadamia growth hence farmers should be encouraged to grow the crop.
He expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with Kenya Nut Company Limited saying macadamia is a good starting point when trying to enhance resilience, agricultural productivity, food security, nutrition and economic empowerment of small holder farmer communities.
Busia County Upper Region Agriculture Chief Officer Richard Achiambo said Kenya Nut Company Limited is an investor focused on the production of macadamia, cashew nut and avocado.
“They want to introduce it in Busia hence they are looking for an opportunity to do that. We have had a meeting with the Governor where we looked at productivity and value addition.
“As a county we have agreed to further our discussions with the company that will culminate into a Memorandum of Understanding set to benefit farmers that will venture into macadamia production,” he said.
He revealed that the county has currently over 900 macadamia trees courtesy of a partnership with PALWECO and USAID.
Achiambo said the crop can survive in all areas of Busia because of its ability to withstand both rainy and dry weather conditions.
Kenya is the world’s third largest macadamia producer and the second largest exporter of macadamia.
According to Agriculture and Food Authority, the leading macadamia producing counties in Kenya are Embu, Meru, Kiambu, Tharaka Nithi, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Taita Taveta.
Other counties which have a promising potential are Makueni, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Baringo and Busia.
Macadamia kernel is eaten as a dessert but in raw or roasted form. Soaps and cosmetics industries use the oil as raw material. The oil press cake can be used as livestock feed additive, the shells can be used to make charcoal.
The wood has the potential for production of hard timber for furniture or building. Macadamia shells may be used as fuel, while the hulls, the green covering of the nuts, contain approximately 14 per cent of substances suitable for tanning leather.
The plant’s pollen is very attractive to bees, providing necessary forage for honey production.
by Melechezedeck Ejakait