Macadamia farmers fear losses due to lack of markets
NUTS: Macadamia farmers across the country are likely to incur huge losses due to lack of market for their produce.
The farmers are said to have produced more than the local processors can handle due to closure of the global market.
Johnson Kihara of the Nut Traders Association of Kenya said the ban on exportation of raw nuts was hurting the sector.
He said about 40 per cent of the nuts would likely to go to waste as local processors could only handle 60 per cent.
Speaking in Murang’a, Kihara said raw nuts had limited shelf life wheras farmers do not have the techniques to preserve them.
He said few operating processors buy nuts from farmers at a throw-away price, with a kilo going for as low as Sh60 compared to Sh200 last year.
Kihara now wants section 43 of the crop Act which imposes a ban of exportation of raw nuts lifted for four years until proper strategies to cushion small-scale farmers are put in place.
He claimed the section was sneaked in by unscrupulous processors using some officials from the Agriculture Food Authority (AFA).
“We are seeking an audience with Trade Cabinet secretary Peter Munya to discuss how this clause can be lifted” he said.
He said the law was imposed 10 years ago when production of nuts was relatively low.
“Now that we have massive production of, we need liberalisation of the market for farmers to benefit” added Kihara.