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Zimbabwe: Resettled farmers fail to reach macademia nuts targets

Clayton Masekesa

CHIPINGE – Resettled farmers here who forcefully grabbed macadamia nuts farms during the country’s infamous land grab in 2000 have this year failed to meet the 9 000 tonnes target following poor farming methods and incapacitation, experts have said.

The farmers will therefore lose out on about US$50 000 from a Chinese company which usually buys the nuts from them.

David Kazonde a macadamia farming expert said on Monday that most farmers who took over the macadamia nut farms had no required knowledge of macadamia production.

“It is sad that the farmers who took over the farms lack the technical expertise. These nuts need a specific technical knowhow, this the reason why the farmers have been having poor seasons in terms of yields,” he said.

Kazonde urged the farmers to seek correct and specific knowledge regarding macadamia nuts farming.

“We have experts who have the technical knowledge regarding the correct farming macadamia nuts. There are no shortcuts to this,” he added.

“Good quality of macadamia nuts is favourable in global markets. The nuts are recognized as a valuable source of nutrients with a number of health benefits because of their high content of mono unsaturated fatty acids,” he added.

He said it has been a poor season where the nuts were of poor quality and had less weight.

However, a government horticulture specialist, Douglas Nzarayebani attributed the loss to incessant drought.

He said: “There are concerns about compromised quality of the nuts. This is due to the long dry spell which affected the fruit on its maturity period.”

The farmers were worried by their failure to generate the much needed foreign currency.

One tree can yield up to 20kg of nuts at a time, which is sold at an average price of US$4 per kg and potentially earning farmers between US$25 000 to US$30 000 per hectare.

The biggest market for the crop is China and experts believe that the Asian country has the capacity to take up more nuts if farmers can increase production.

Previously, good quality macadamia had a higher demand on local and international market and it had the potential to promote lucrative horticultural exports in Zimbabwe.

The haphazard land reform programme did not take due consideration in protecting farms strategically positioned to contribute to national development.

Most of the commercial macadamia farms repossessed by the Zimbabwean government are not producing enough to match previous output.

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