Growing a high-value cash crop like macadamia can help hasten Uganda’s status into a Middle Income Economy.
This was revealed by Shayaan Morvi, one of the directors at Amafh farm, the leading growers of the crop in Uganda.
UBOS estimates that about 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture and if a big part of these is encouraged to grow macadamia, the results will be different.
Amafh farm is located in Mityana district.
The global macadamia nut market size was valued at US$ 1.31b in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028.
“The growing public knowledge of the health advantages of nuts has been a key factor in the market expansion in Uganda, and Ugandans have an opportunity to tap into this very lucrative but very young industry,” he says.
Shayaan explains that because around 80% of Uganda’s land is arable, only 35% of it is being cultivated.
Comparing this to the fact that 70% of the Ugandan population is farming, growing a crop like Macadamia could benefit the whole population as it would not only mean secure jobs with a decent salary, but also it would mean that issues like food security would be solved in regions like the North, where months of a dry spell
would not allow farmers to cultivate much, and as macadamia is not a heavy feeder, and has been proven to work in such harsh conditions, it would be the best crop to grow for the Ugandan population.
He says that macadamia seedling is sold at sh10, 000 and a farmer requires about 100 seedlings for an acre. A kilogram of macadamia nuts goes for between sh3,000 and 4,000.
A farmer can earn sh30m+ from an acre per year as the tree reaches maturity.
“Growing macadamia trees has far-reaching benefits that go beyond
economics. For example, through growing macadamia trees, the country’s carbon footprint decreases, helping combat one of the world’s biggest problems right now, climate change,” he says.
In the international market, macadamia nuts also go by the name ‘brown gold’ due to its nutritional and economic value.
Amafh Farms LTD is encouraging all farmers to uptake the tree and grow brown gold in Uganda.
Amafh Farms have 700 acres planted and they provide grafted high-quality seedlings, training and buy-back services for the nuts from the farmers.
Shayaan says that macadamia trees are long-lived and can live for 80-100 years.
This provides a long-term source of income, and food security while also having a positive impact on the environment.
The farmers can also intercrop with legumes to enhance the usage of the land.
Fossil fuels are currently one of the most serious global issues. Aside from their toxic properties, they will not be around indefinitely. Many businesses are focusing on renewable energy sources.
Macadamia trees can be a great renewable source of energy if harvested and treated sustainably.
They are simple to use, and with careful forest management, they have the potential to become an excellent eco-friendly fuel and provide cost-effective solutions to climate change.
He says that in commercial agriculture, the macadamia tree is regarded as an “ecological giant” in the horticultural sector.
This is due to its ability to reduce water consumption, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, absorb phosphates, and recycle organic waste.
Macadamias are not heavy feeders, but their fine lateral feeder roots can absorb phosphates and calcium from soils at low concentrations.
As a result, there is room for more environmentally friendly fertilizer applications.
According to preliminary research findings, the average macadamia orchard absorbs more than 17 tones gross and 14.5 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per hectare per year.
As a result, sustainable on-farm practices are required to meet market demands and address environmental concerns.