Overview of the South African Macadamia Industry


From fairly humble beginnings in the 1960’s when macadamias were first introduced into the country, the South African macadamia industry has grown into a major world force, competing with Australia in terms of being the largest producer. It is arguably the fastest growing tree crop industry in South Africa with production increasing more than 20-fold in the last 20 years, from 1 211 tons of nut in shell (NIS) in 1991 to an industry capable of producing 46 000 tons in 2015. The total value of annual production has increased from R32 million in 1996 to approximately R 3.2 Billion in 2015. Due to a severe drought period, production decreased with a total production of 38 000 tons NIS produced in 2016, valued at R2.714 Billion.

New macadamia tree plantings have increased the number of trees from about one million in 1996 to more than 8 million in 2016, covering a total area of approximately 28 000 hectares. New plantings ensure that the industry is growing by an estimated 3 900 ha annually.

The main growing areas are Levubu and Tzaneen in Limpopo province, Hazyview to Barberton in Mpumalanga and coastal KwaZulu-Natal. There are an estimated 700 farmers involved in growing macadamia nuts, with more than 650 that are members of SAMAC. A number of growers are GlobalGAP and SIZA accredited and most of the cracking facilities are HACCP and/or ISO 9001 accredited. Quality assurance is given priority throughout the industry, from farm level through the processor and exporter to the customer. Individual batch processing used in all the cracking facilities provides for the kind of attention to detail that not only ensures full traceability of every container of macadamias from the customer back to farm level, but also supplies farmers with fast feedback of quality attributes of each batch processed.

[Go to “SUPPLIERS” for a list of SAMAC affiliated South African macadamia marketing companies to make your purchase of fine quality macadamia nut products]

The industry is export based with more than 95% of annual production shipped to international markets. Approximately 50% of the South African crop is exported as NIS to Asia, and the remainder of the crop is processed to kernel. The USA and Canada is the largest market for kernel exports. Other markets include Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Given the large number of young trees yet to come into production, the industry has tremendous growth and development potential. Although most of the workforce in the industry is employed seasonally, for the harvesting and processing from February to August, it is estimated that at least 7 150 permanent job opportunities have been created on macadamia farms and another 600 permanent jobs in cracking facilities. In peak season, the industry presently provides employment for an additional 8 150 workers. A total of 12 500 full-time equivalent workers are estimated to be employed by the macadamia industry in South Africa. Since production is expected to continue to increase due to the rate at which new plantings are being established, employment creation is expected to continue to grow at a similar pace.

The industry body SAMAC was formed in the early 1970’s by a group of growers seeking to pool their resources in order to address their common problems and issues. SAMAC opened its first permanent office in October 1997 with two staff members. Currently (2016) SAMAC has a membership of more than 500 members, which consists of growers, international members, nurseries, handlers and service providers. SAMAC is a dynamic organisation, funded by a statutory levy and voluntary membership contributions and directed by macadamia industry participants who have the orderly growth and development of the industry at heart. SAMAC initiated contact with other African macadamia producing countries, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, at an historic “indaba” held in Harare in 1998 and after more than a decade SAMAC still works closely with these industries to promote the global industry.

Global contacts and cooperation has been further developed through the participation in the seven International Macadamia Symposia that have taken place since its inception in 1999, of which three have been hosted in South Africa (1999, 2009 and 2015).

SAMAC is also a member of the INC (The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council) where the industry has the opportunity to interact not only with international macadamia role players, but with various other key role players within the international nut trade.

The South African macadamia industry is proud of its strong private enterprise base and the structures in place for its governance, created, funded and controlled by the growers, processors and marketers who are committed to its successful future.


Establishment of the ‘Macadamia Special Committee’ of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import & Export

Establishment of the ‘Macadamia Special Committee’ of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CCCFNA)

The SAMAC Chairman was given the opportunity  to present on the South African Macadamia Industry in Kunming, China after receiving an invitation from the CCCFNA.  This follows the recent Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony with the China Roasters Association and the exchange of membership with the Yunnan Macadamia Society.  The conference was attended by approximately 150 influential Chinese roleplayers and international stakeholders during which a ‘Macadamia Special Committee’ was established and various key representatives appointed. 

The Chairman was presented with a Letter of Appointment to serve on the Committee which will permit more engagement, interaction and influence within the wider China Macadamia Industry with a key focus on tariff negotiations, which are presently under way. 

Additionally at the XXXVI INC World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Chennai the SAMAC Chairman signed an MOU with the CCCFNA which formalises the relationship between the two organisations.  As a result SAMAC and the CCCFNA will exchange reciprocal membership, involve each other in functions, events and initiatives organised by each Association as well as support the expansion of the macadamia industry in both countries.

The Chairman receiving his Letter of Appointment from Miss Chen Ying, Director of Cereals and Oils Department of the CCCFNA.

Mr Bian Zhenhu (President of the CCCFNA) and Walter Giuricich (SAMAC Chairman) shorlty after signing the MOU at the XXXVI INC  World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Chennai.




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First report of Lasiodiplodia theobromae on Macadamia integrifolia in Brazil

Ivan Herman Fischer1  * 

Marcos José Perdona1 

Juliana Cristina Sodário Cruz1 

Ana Carolina Firmino2 

1Polo Regional Centro Oeste, Av. Rodrigues Alves, 40-40, CEP – 15678-000, Bauru, SP.

2UNESP/FCAT/Campus Dracena, Rod. Comandante João Ribeiro de Barros, Km 651 – Das Antas, CEP – 17900-000, Dracena, SP

Macadamia tree (Macadamia integrifolia Maiden & Betche) is a plant native to the rainforests of Australia. Its nut is rich in monounsaturated oils and is considered an excellent energy source. In August 2013, samples of branches and bark of the trunk of macadamia plants were received for laboratory analysis; they were from an eight-year-old commercial orchard located in São João da Boa Vista, São Paulo State, Brazil, and presented symptoms of sunken canker on the bark (Figure 1A), while some plants had gum exudations, which culminated in dry terminal branches. At least 10 plants of the orchard were symptomatic. Fragments of diseased bark were previously surface-sterilized by immersion in 70% ethanol for 30 s and 1% sodium hypochlorite for 30 s, and then washed in sterile distilled water. Small sections (0.5 cm long) were cut from the edge of an advancing lesion on the diseased bark and placed directly on water agar medium. The developed fungal colonies were placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium and, subsequently, identified based on morphologic characters. Formed cultures were dark grey colored after seven days. Pycnidia were stromatic, globose and ostiolate. Conidia were initially hyaline, 1-celled and subovoid. When mature, conidia were 1-septate, brown and measured 26-31 x 12-16µm, typical of Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griff. & Maubl. Presence of Botryosphaeria rhodina (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) (teleomorph of L. theobromae) was not detected in the bark with canker or in the culture medium. ITS1 and ITS4 sequenced region of the isolate showed 98% similarity to the isolate of L. theobromae (AY585345). Pathogenicity test was performed for three isolates through attachment with adhesive tape of PDA plugs containing mycelium of the fungus on the shoot in five healthy plants of macadamia aged four months. Plants were maintained in a humid chamber for the first 24 h after inoculation and conditioned in a greenhouse. After seven days of inoculation, necrosis on the shoot was observed (Figure 1B). Pathogenicity was confirmed by recovering inoculated isolates from infected tissues. In Australia, Lasiodiplodia sp. was reported causing husk rot of macadamia (Mayers, P.E. Epidemiology and control of husk spot of macadamia. Australian Macadamia Society News Bulletin, v.25, p.59-64, 1998). This is the first record of L. theobromae causing disease to macadamia plants in Brazil.

Figure 1 A. Macadamia branch bark removed from the trunk with symptoms of canker of Lasiodiplodia theobromae; B. Necrosis on the macadamia shoot after seven days of the inoculation of L. theobromae 

Received: September 21, 2016; Accepted: February 14, 2017

Ivan Herman Fischer (

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The great nut robbery: These machete-wielding gangs don’t want cash

Posted on: – 2017-04-13 10:18

Harare – Police in Zimbabwe’s southern Chipinge district have had to help farmers step up security after machete-wielding robbers began targeting a new and lucrative loot: macadamia nuts.

The state-controlled Manica Post says in its latest edition that police in the area have seized tons of stolen macadamia nuts since last month.

Brazen robbers armed with machetes, knobkerries and catapults are no longer bothering to wait until night to stage their attacks on farmers, but hitting farmers during the daytime, says the report.

“Every day, we are recovering macadamia nuts from robbers and we are handling more reports of theft,” police spokesperson Daniel Mhini told the newspaper.

The paper said the nuts had a value of $2-4 per kg.

Farmer Simon Sithole told the Manica Post: “We are living in fear, as some of our workers are being assaulted every day by some of the robbers.”

Production of macadamia nuts began in Zimbabwe around 2000. In some cases it can be more profitable than tobacco, farmers have said.

Taken from:


SAMAC signs a MOU with China Nuts Industry

South African Macadamia Grower’s Association (SAMAC) Partners with Specialized Committee for Nuts and Roasted Seeds of China National Industry Association (CSNC)

Hefei, China—On April 13, 2017, Mr. Walter Giuricich, Chairman of the South African Macadamia Grower’s Association (SAMAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Madam Weng Yangyang, the senior Vice President of the Specialized Committee for Nuts and Roasted Seeds of China National Industry Association (CSNC), aimed at enhancing the relationship of the macadamia and roaster industries between the two countries.  The signing ceremony took place at the opening of the China Nuts and Roasted Seed Industry’s Annual Conference and 11th China Nuts and Roasted Seed Exhibition. The board members of CSNC, Mr. Mashudu Silimela, Agricultural Counsellor from the South African Embassy, and honoured guests, witnessed the event along with over one thousand Chinese nut industry leaders and CNSC Members.

At the opening, Madam Wang claimed that China is now the largest nut market in the world. As per the figure released by CSNC at the event, the total sales of China nuts and roasted seeds have reached to RMB 132.7 Billion (around USD19.5 billion) in 2016, up 10% compared with the year before. It demonstrated the strong growth of the industry, part of which shall contribute to CSNC’s effort to promote their members’ products, summarized in a slogan stating that “eating a handful of nuts and roasted nuts a day will keep you healthy”.  Giuricich echoed in his opening remarks addressing to the audience that, “many nut industries in the world supply more than 30% of their crop to China. “

When referring specifically to South African macadamias, China purchased approximately 40%, or 18,200 tons in 2015 and 36%, or 13,680 tons, of the crop in 2016. The figure has decreased in 2016 as South Africa experienced its worst drought recorded in history which affected production in all major growing regions.

“Looking forward from 2017 onwards the global macadamia industry is expected to be back at full capacity by 2018 and doubling in size by 2020!  This massive growth will result in an industry which represents less than 2% of the international nut market to grow to 4% in the next 3 to 4 years” said Giuricich.

No doubt China has played a key role in the recent market growth for macadamia nuts which is why SAMAC is seeking the partnership with CSNC. The signed MOU will allow the two parties to enhance collaboration by exchanging industry information, jointly promoting macadamias, and allow involvement in each associations respective events.

As Giuricich quoted- a proverb from Nigeria states, “a man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity. Relationships, teamwork and trust though all levels of business and trade is important for success.”

What does this mean for the South African macadamia industry going forward?

The objective of the MOU between the two organisations is to address the challenges that both industries currently face, specifically market access and import duties. The agreement will ensure that the two organisations establish a long-term, equal, friendly and common development support mechanism by:

Sharing information of relevant laws, regulations, and standards promulgated by the two countries and industry bodies.

Being involved in the major activities of the industry, enterprises and associations by jointly holding product procurement conferences, exhibitions, trade fairs and other events.

Promote both industries through websites, publications and other media platforms.

Jointly work together in regards to nutrition research and other scientific disciplines in respect of macadamias.

Interact with each other regularly to promote exchanges and the cooperation among enterprises of two countries to create and further grow business opportunities.

Accept tasks entrusted or requested by the other party.

Allow both parties to conduct further negotiations about matters which haven’t been included in the MOU.

The ceremony received support from the South African Embassy and further meetings have been scheduled to initiate involvement with the DTI in South Africa.

Updated:  18-04-2017



KZN Study Group Report

SAMAC study groups were successfully held in KZN on the 21st of February at Tadpoles farm (near Stanger) and on the 22nd of February at Broadmore farm in Port Edward. Both days were well attended by enthusiastic macadamia growers despite the heavy rains that persisted on both days. The focus of the study groups was on ‘Harvesting Practices’. As the macadamia nuts are maturing on the tree and harvesting about to take place soon, it was a relevant topic of discussion for this study group.

The speakers were absolutely phenomenon and graced us with their expert knowledge. They included Patrick Lennon from Plan-A-Head, Alwyn du Preez (Golden Macadamias), Juan Winters from Source, Lindsay Tredgold and Philip Lee (CompleteLee Nuts Consulting).

Plan-A-Head presented their macadamia management software and gave an impressive live demonstration of their infield weighing device. Juan Winters discussed the KZN benchmarking statistics with the growers and Alwyn du Preez gave a wonderful insight on using Ethapon sprays to harvest macadamia nuts.

At the north coast study group Lindsay Tredgold gave a well-rounded talk on ‘The fertilisation of macadamias”. He emphasised using the correct application rates of nutrients (N P K) at the different phenological stages of tree as well as at the right tree age. Philip Lee gave us a brilliant overview of the macadamia industry and also presented some interesting facts and figures on different macadamia varieties.

In addition, at the south coast study group, growers had an interesting discussion on “Harvest costings” which was chaired by Quentin Elliot. Overall the study groups went very well. A special word of thanks to our sponsors Plan-A-Head for sponsoring the meetings and to Walter Klar (Tadpoles Farm) and Gunter Wichmann (Broadmore Farm) for hosting us.


SAMAC onttrek vanaf Subtrop – RSG Landbou

Barry Christie, bedryfsbestuurder van Suider-Afrikaanse Makadamia Kwekersvereniging (SAMAC), deel inligting oor SAMAC se onttrekking van Subtrop.

Lees ‘n verdere artikel oor die ontrekking:


Makadamia Beskermingsprogram – RSG Landbou

‘n Nuwe navorsingsprogram, die Makadamia Beskermingsprogram (The Macadamia Protection Programme (MaPP)) is onlangs bekendgestel. Dr Gerda Fourie, leier van die program, en Barry Christie, bedryfsbestuurder vir makadamia by Subtrop, praat met RSG-luisteraars hieroor.

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