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Nut processors moot law to streamline macadamia sector

The  Nuts processors are in the process of drafting a law to streamline farming, harvesting and marketing of macadamia nuts.

The  Nut  Processors Association of Kenya currently is conducting public participation to get public opinion of the proposed law before it’s sent to Parliament.

Backed by Agriculture Food Authority (AFA), the processors have claimed that the sector has been invaded by brokers and unscrupulous traders who are compromising the quality of the nuts.

During a public participation meeting held at the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization (KARLO) centre in Kandara on Thursday, the processors led by their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Charles Muigai said they want all macadamia farmers to be registered and be attached to specific processors.

Currently, Mugai said lack of regulations in the sector has highly contributed to increased theft of the nuts from farms and harvesting of immature macadamia nuts.

“Without clear regulations and procedures, the quality of our macadamia will be low prompting our nuts to be locked out from international markets,” Muigai observed.

The proposed law, he added, will guide in harvesting and marketing of nuts and ensure farmers are known to avoid increased theft of the nuts.

The processors expressed their concerns over existence of brokers who they claimed are fueling theft of macadamia.

They fear that if necessary strategies are not put in place, Kenya may lose its position in provision of quality macadamia internationally.

Speaking during the meeting, Chairman of Nuts Traders Association, Johnson Kihara, criticized the proposed law, saying its sponsors are trying to push out independent traders who have ventured in the macadamia business.

Kihara castigated  AFA of failing to provide proper guidelines saying the authority is being influenced to spearhead only interests of the processors.

“As traders we want a liberal market for macadamia. Very many farmers market their nuts through us and we should not be ignored,” added Kihara.

Towards the end of last year, AFA imposed a ban on harvesting of Macadamia between November 1 and February 15 as a way to curtail farmers from harvesting immature nuts.

The processors claimed that macadamia mature at different times considering climatic conditions of counties where the crop is grown.

The participants unanimously underscored the imposition of tough measures to ensure only mature nuts get into the market.

By  Bernard  Munyao

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