Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Correspondent
THE prevailing extreme high temperatures affecting most parts of the country are negatively impacting on macadamia yields in Chipinge District. Macadamia harvesting is expected to commence next month, but a number of farmers have seen their yields dwindling due to the high temperatures which are affecting both the quality and quantity of the high paying crop.
A check by The Manica Post revealed that most macadamia nuts were affected during the crucial flowering stage. Although many farmers are anticipating good prices this season, fears abound that they will fail to meet the demand for the nuts.
Macadamia Farmers Association secretary, Mr James Maisiri, said this year the macadamia nuts yields were poor compared to previous seasons because of the prevailing high temperatures.
“Our yields are poor this season because of heat stress which affected the crop during the critical flowering stage. This caused the abortion of flowers resulting in the low production of macadamia nuts. Although we are anticipating poor harvests, we are expecting the firming of the nuts’ prices.
“When the macadamia buying season opens from early January to the end of March, we are anticipating local and foreign buyers to jostle for the crop because of the short supply from farmers this season. Macadamia nuts from Chipinge are among of the best internationally and we are planning many strategies to maintain the standards,” he said.
In mitigating the heat stress challenges on macadamia plantations, Mr Maisiri said farmers were in the process of resuscitating irrigations facilities.
“Quite a number of farmers are responding well to the requirements of resuscitating irrigations facilities on plantations because heat wave is affecting us every season. We are in the process of replacing old water networks with modern facilities,” said Mr Maisiri.
Dubbed “the green diamond” of Chipinge due to its high demand on the international market, the nuts are improving economic activities in the eastern border district and nationally through improving foreign currency inflows.