Nyeri coffee farmers switch to macadamia

Wednesday May 4 2016

A farmer holds Macadamia nuts after harvesting

A farmer holds Macadamia nuts after harvesting at Kariguini village in Nyeri county. Some farmers in Nyeri are now switching from growing coffee to macadamia nuts, which they say have better returns. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI 

By NICHOLAS KOMU
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Some farmers in Nyeri are now switching from growing coffee to macadamia nuts citing frustrations in coffee farming.

The farmers from Mukurwe-ini Sub-County have now opted for macadamia nuts which they say have better returns.

The macadamia business is seemingly more lucrative with a kilogramme of raw nuts fetching up to Sh100 at a minimum.

Coffee on the other hand earns them between Sh30 and Sh50 per kilo of berries.

On rare occasions it can go to a high of about Sh80 per kilo.

GRAFTED MACADAMIA SEEDLINGS

More 400 farmers in Gakindu Village on Monday received a boost after receiving grafted macadamia seedlings.

The farmers are expected to start reaping benefits from the seedlings three and half years after planting.

One of the farmers, Mr David Mwangi, recounted the difficulties of having to meet his basic needs from his coffee proceeds over the years, adding that the new venture presented better prospects.

“If we can get a suitable market then we are sure we can improve our lives and recover the losses we suffered from the coffee farming,” he said.

Ms Martha Ng’endo, a farmer, also said that macadamia farmers receive their pay upon delivery of their produce to buyers while coffee farmers have to cope with delays before they get their pay.

Speaking during the launch of the macadamia farming programme, Mr Mambo Thieri who is also the initiator, said that the alternative cash crop is the only way to salvage farmers from poverty.

RAISE NUMBER OF MACADAMIA TREES

Mr Thieri also promised to donate 10,000 seedlings in the next three months, in a bid to raise the number of macadamia trees in the area to over one million in the next five years.

The farmers will also seek to partner with the county government to start up a macadamia nuts processing plant in Mukurwe-ini.

Some, however, said that they would continue doing small scale coffee farming alongside the macadamia nuts.