OVER 300 new smallholder farmers in Manicaland have ventured into macadamia nut farming since last season.
Through the Macadamia Empowerment Group Association (MEGA), smallholder farmers are able to buy macadamia seedlings at a favourable price in a move aimed at increasing production.
In a recent interview, tobacco and horticulture specialist, Mr Douglas Nzarayebani, confirmed the increase in macadamia farming in the province since last season.
“Most farmers are venturing into macadamia farming, a move which will boost production in the near future. We have noticed that even coffee growers have shifted to macadamia since coffee production is a bit complicated,” he said.
MEGA promoter, Mr Elvis Nyanhongo, said more farmers are expressing interest in the initiative.
“We have plenty of new farmers coming on board. Of these 300 farmers, about 200 are from Mutasa District, 50 from Mutare and the rest come from across the province. The most interesting thing is that 99 percent of the farmers are new,” said Mr Nyamhongo.
He said the initiative is meant to change people’s lives especially those in rural areas as one plant produces an average of 30 to 50kg of the much sought after nuts.
“A tree can produce between 30 and 50kg if well maintained. Currently, good quality nuts are selling at US$4 per kg, meaning that from a single plant, a farmer can realise US$120 to US$200 at peak harvest.
“With 20 plants, one household can earn between US$2 400 to US$4 000 per harvest which is enough to transform and urbanise rural areas,” said Mr Nyanhongo.
He added that they are getting all the necessary support from stakeholders.
“Our stakeholders including the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, chiefs and others are all supporting this initiative,” he said.