Macadamia Nut Farming in KenyaKenyan farmers are growing more macadamia trees, and such a decision is proving to be extremely profitable. The high demand and high returns of macadamia nut farming in Kenya have the potential to be incredibly beneficial for low-income farmers.

Why the Increase in Macadamia Trees?

Historically, farmers planted macadamia trees to provide shade for coffee bushes that produce high-quality coffee; however, today, some coffee farmers have switched to farming macadamia nuts due to the fact that the price for the nuts has more than doubled so far in 2018. A kilo (about two pounds) of nuts sells for 160 to 180 Kenyan shillings, which is up from 70 shillings as of January 2018. Kenya is now the world’s third-largest grower of macadamia nuts, behind South Africa and Australia.

The versatility of the nuts may be a reason for their high demand in international and local markets. Macadamia nuts can be eaten raw or added to various food items like candies and cakes, or also made into oil with pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses.

The waste products — like shells and husks — can then be utilized as fertilizer, processing fuel, mulching and other efficient uses. Kenyan macadamia nuts are especially appreciated for their crunchy consistency, and the United States imports the largest amount of shelled macadamia on the globe. There are now 27 licensed macadamia processors in Kenya, as opposed to just five in 2013. 

Decrease in Coffee, Rise in Nuts

The slow decline of Kenya’s coffee production may have also given room for the macadamia market to thrive. There were 38,620 tons of coffee grown in 2017 compared to the nation’s peak of 130,000 tons in 1989. Busolo, Director-General of Agriculture and Food Authority in Kenya, stated: “We want the private sector to play a key role, unlike coffee, which had a lot of government involvement.”

Slovak Aid, an appendage of Slovak foreign policy, has funded a project that will provide farmers in Kirinyaga  County, Kenya, with one million “fast-maturing” and “high-yielding” seedlings so as to promote macadamia nut farming in Kenya.

These seedlings are expected to come to full maturity in three years rather than nine, and produce 50 kilograms worth of nuts as opposed to the 10 kilogram average. The organization has dedicated itself to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate poverty and hunger while also promoting sustainable development.

An Optimistic Future

Kenya’s Slovak Ambassador, Frantisek Dlhopolek, is optimistic about macadamia nut farming in Kenya. “Kenya’s climatic condition is ideal for optimum macadamia production and…with the rising global demand is not a coincidence-rather a calculated move to help local farmers prosper,” he said.

It’s expected that with the help of this project, Kenya may grow to hold the number one position in global macadamia production.

– Camille Wilson
Photo: Google

poverty and conservation in Kenya
In Kenya, Bidco Land O’Lakes is developing an encouraging partnership with farmers to assist in producing quality animal feed. Commercializing Kenyan farms with the assistance of quality feed would provide economic gain, and the partnership’s goals work to address poverty and conservation in Kenya.

Bidco Land O’Lakes and African Farmers

The partnership began in 2016 when Bidco Africa and Land O’Lakes combined the organizations’ strengths. Bidco Africa is the largest consumer goods company in East Africa with more than 35 years of market knowledge and customer insights. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is a big producer in feed technology and formulation, supporting a commitment to quality. Combining the two groups collective knowledge, the partnership implements the goal to increase farmer productivity and well-being.

Land O’Lakes International Development

Another organization affiliated with Land O’Lakes, Inc. is the Land O’Lakes International Development nonprofit, which has developed the base for dairy industry growth in Kenya for about two decades. This nonprofit assists societies in building local economies through agriculture and business development, and connecting farmers to markets. The organization “collaborates locally to create lasting inclusive economic growth.”

In many developing countries, agriculture, the basis of feed product, and other natural resources are the foundation of economic growth; however, around 11 percent of the world’s surface is suitable for agriculture and of that percentage, around 38 percent has been degraded by inadequate natural resource management.

The Land O’Lakes International Development nonprofit addresses inadequate natural resource management through the importance of sustainable agricultural practices. The organization promotes conservation and efficiency in natural resource usage through flexible sustainable strategies that strengthen agricultural production, such as quality livestock feed.

Poverty and Conservation in Kenya

Kenya’s economy and people’s livelihoods are extremely contingent on natural resources. Addressing poverty and conservation in Kenya could start with sustainable practices of agricultural and natural resources.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) made most of the Land O’Lakes International Development work achievable. However, the Land O’Lakes International Development Fund (IDF) develops additional financial earnings through non-U.S. government donors that increase the efficiency and success of the programs.

USAID’s Work

USAID promotes good farming conventions and effective land management so as to increase agricultural productivity. Sustainable agricultural production promotes conservation and preservation of farming lands while also increasing agricultural productivity.

In Kenya, USAID assists in laying a foundation for long-term economic growth through sustainable agriculture. The organization promotes community-based natural resource management so as to effectively eliminate conservation challenges associated with development.

Kenya’s new constitution ratified in 2010 bids “community land” to any group composed on the basis of ethnicity, culture or mutual interest. The group can then have free, community usage of the land and development of the selected area of land.

Historically, there has a been a collision of the right of people to use traditional, community lands for their own development needs and the need to conserve natural resources. Community ownership usually chooses to develop the land for economic growth or chooses to conserve the land.

However, in an article by Janet Ranganathan of the World Resources Institute, she describes that the “current mindset of society is to put economic development and nature in separate boxes,” but in reality, “development and ecosystem services are intertwined.” She promotes the idea that development organizations can assist developing countries in advancing economically while conserving the environment by evaluating ecosystems and natural resources as assets that generate benefits.

Increased Productivity

The feed partnership with Bidco Land O’Lakes and Kenyan farmers promotes the two goals of conserving natural resources and promoting economic development. Both groups provide hands-on trainings to the farmers to increase sustainable agricultural productivity in addition to quality feed production.

Combining the need for economic development and conservation of natural resources, the Bidco Land O’Lakes partnership increases productivity of agricultural feed, and addresses poverty and conservation in Kenya.

– Andrea Quade

Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in KenyaAgriculture plays a large role in Kenya’s economy. The agricultural industry employs more than 40 percent of Kenya’s total population and more than 70 percent of the country’s rural inhabitants.

Any country can benefit from sustainable agriculture, but it is even more important that those with a heavy reliance on agriculture make sustainability a priority in their decision-making. Sustainable agriculture in Kenya can improve crop yields, stimulate the economy and help mitigate climate change.

Kenya is implementing a range of programs to increase sustainable agriculture. These are important steps to help the country build a prosperous future for all who live there.

Increasing Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya

One project working to increase sustainable agriculture in Kenya is the World Bank’s Sustainable Agriculture Land Management Project. This project saw tremendous gains in the area of environmental conservation by training farmers in sustainable farming techniques.

By 2015, 25,000 tons of carbon was captured with the use of methods implemented by the World Bank project. As a result, farmers in the area received carbon credits. Maize yields tripled over the course of three years and more than 30,000 farmers in Kenya have been trained.

Ace Africa has also been working to improve sustainable agriculture in Kenya by implementing what the organization calls Community Livelihood Programs. These programs deal with the problem of decreased soil fertility by teaching local farmers how to make organic compost. This compost not only improves soil fertility but also helps crops better fight against disease and increases carbon sequestration.

Incorporating Intercropping

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT) is another organization devoting itself to increasing sustainable agriculture in Kenya. One of the main techniques taught by CIMMYT is intercropping.

Intercropping improves crop yields by planting multiple different crops among each other in the same field. The organization also focuses on improving seed quality.

Sustainable agriculture in Kenya is making a positive impact on Kenya’s economy and also decreasing the country’s carbon footprint. This serves as a great example for the international community that economic and environmental interests do not always have to be at odds.

When sustainable development is a priority, increasing economic success and decreasing negative impacts on the planet are possible to achieve simultaneously.

– Aaron Childree

Photo: Flickr