State lifts export ban on raw nuts


The Government has lifted a ban on the export of to facilitate the mop up excess produce.
In a gazette notice this week, Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei said “in exercise of the powers conferred by section 192 (i) and (vii) of the Agriculture Act, and paragraph 14 of the Horticultural Crops Development Authority Order, the Minister for Agriculture lifts the ban on the export of raw nuts”.

The nut varieties that the ban affects include Macadamia nut (Macadamia SPB), Cashew nut (Anacarcadium Occidentale), Pistachio nut (Pistachio Vera) and Oyster nut (Tarfaira Pedata).

The lift, Kosgei further explained, spans from last week to 30th June next year.

Last year’s ban was intended to attract investors to set up cashew nut processing units in the country, but the low volumes of nuts produced meant a factory of viable capacity could not be established. Kenya produces only 11,000 tonnes per year.

There has been increased interests by foreigners in the Kenyan macadamia sub-sector, which has boosted the fortunes of many farmers.

Farmers are receiving between Sh10,000 and Sh50,000 (between £120 and £550) for their macadamia produce.

Information available about the crop on Kenya Agricultural Research Institute website indicates that growing the crop became a lucrative occupation, with many uprooting their coffee bushels for the new gold in the formerly coffee dependent regions.

High demand

“But macadamia nuts with a ready export market in Asia and United States has suddenly become the black gold of the previously rich coffee growing area,” read information in the website.

However, no serious effort was made to develop new grafted seedlings until recently when demand for the crop hit the roof.

In Kenya, the macadamia industry is unique in that small-scale producers play the major role alongside company farms.

Farmers are organised through cooperative societies with over 700 collection points and private firms providing extension services to these outreach farmers mainly found in coffee producing regions.

Improved prices due to increasing consumption of the nuts in importing countries of Asia, Europe, Australia and America have improved demand, according to industry players.