South African macadamia crop 20% up on previous season

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South African macadamia crop 20% up on previous season

South Africa's macadamia crop is currently forecast at 53,500 metric tons (MT) on an in-shell basis, putting it 20% higher than last year's 44,610MT. 

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) said a stronger kernel market is likely to result in 54% of the crop being processed to kernel, up from 50%.

Around 2,000MT more macadamias than last season are expected to be exported as nut-in-shell, while nearly 7,000MT more will be processed to kernel.

Processing capacity in South Africa has increased significantly and many factories are still in the process of expanding their operations, the SAMAC said.

Forecasts submitted by individual handlers (processors and nut in shell consolidators) vary significantly and forecast increases of up to 90% higher than the previous season have been submitted.

“The general feeling in our area in Northern Limpopo is that the 2018 crop is fairly similar to last year, but it might be up by about 10%”, said Johan Furstenberg, a grower director of SAMAC.

Barry Christie, operations manager at SAMAC recently attended the INC XXXVII World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Seville, Spain. According to Christie, all participants in the macadamia roundtable discussion that was held at the congress were in agreement that the demand currently still outstripped supply.

The panelists included Jolyon Burnett (session chair, from Australia), Alex Whyte (South Africa), Maria-Theresa Camargo (Brazil), Mbugua Ngugi (Kenya) and Cheng Huang Kay (China).

Kay also mentioned that even though there are large plantings occurring in China and that a huge influx of macadamias will start flowing into the market in the next few years, he did not believe there would be a market crash due to the strong demand, according to the SAMAC release.

The ingredient sector is also developing and launching more products with macadamia, stimulating demand. 

In addition, in the past there was a shortage of supply, which coincided with poor industry statistics.

“Industry information has improved drastically due to a more mature and transparent industry, supply has increased and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future, so food manufacturers can with confidence start including macadamias more and more in their products,” said Whyte.

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