KZN Study Group Report

SAMAC study groups were held in KZN on the 15th of November (North Coast) and the 16th of November (South Coast). Both these days were very well attended. The focus of the study groups was on pest control, scouting and biological control measures. An interesting line-up of experts in the field of ‘macadamia pests’ gave powerful presentations and the information shared was extremely useful. Lindi Botha gave an interesting talk on ‘Rearing of Stinkbugs’. Stephan Honiball (Vital Bugs, Tzaneen) spoke about Trichogramma wasps being used as biological control agents for false coddling moth (FCM). Dr. Schalk Schoeman (ARC-Nelspruit) gave an eye-opening presentation on the effects of pruning in controlling pests and our final presentation was by Matt Flanagan (Farmers Agri-Care) who gave a very interesting talk on integrated pest management (IPM) in macadamia production.


Additionally, pest scouting workshops were conducted by Dr Schalk Schoeman at Bruce Zunckel’s farm (KZN North) on the 15th of November and at the Mattisons farm (KZN South) on the 17th of November. These scouting workshops were mainly aimed at the staff to train them on how to properly scout for pests in the orchard. Dr Schoeman demonstrated several techniques on how to look for pests during their different life stages. The main pests being scouted were stink bug, macadamia nut borer (MNB) and false coddling moth (FCM).


A very big and special thank you to Bruce Zunckel, Darrel Wichmann (Sea View farm) and Ryan Taylor for allowing us to use their farms for the study group and pest scouting workshops. Also a very big thank you to Farmers Agri-Care, Vital Bugs and Plan-A-Head for sponsoring our study groups.



10th Annual Subtrop Marketing Symposium

Growers, packers, processors, marketers and retailers in South Africa’s subtropical fruit and nut industry will get a front row seat to the exciting new opportunities opening up for this sector at the upcoming Subtrop Marketing Symposium, taking place on 9 November 2016 at the Emnotweni Arena in Mbombela.

Delegates can expect to hear from a high-calibre panel of speakers, including key note speakers Khanyi Dhlomo, CEO of Ndalo Media, on trends in local and international media, and GG Alcock, author and informal market specialist, on successfully accessing South Africa’s informal economies.

Industry authorities will also take to the stage, sharing their invaluable insights on the current state of the local subtropical fruit and nut industries, future marketing activities and initiatives, and growth prospects for local stakeholders.

These experts include Derek Donkin, Subtrop CEO, who will delve into key industry statistics and market access for local producers, and recent access to India for local mango farmers and the USA for litchi growers, and the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association’s (SAMAC) Robert Carlton-Shields, who will look at the association’s marketing plans.

All the speakers are specialists in their respective areas. Dhlomo is a renowned media personality, having started her career as an award-winning television news and lifestyle anchor, which was followed by an eight-year stint as editor of the women’s magazine True Love. During this time Dhlomo doubled the publication’s readership and circulation. In 2003, she was named one of the most influential women in South African media by The Media magazine. Today Dhlomo is CEO of Ndalo Media, a company she co-founded in 2007 and that publishes the hugely successful DESTINY and DESTINY MAN magazines.

Alcock has made a name for himself in the area of marketing to South Africa’s township and rural residents following his unique upbringing among rural Zulu people. Fluent in Zulu and conversant in most South African ethnic languages GG is the CEO, creative & strategy guru as well as founder of Minanawe Marketing, an agency specialising in TV, radio and face-to-face marketing concepts for the informal township market. He was among the first people to create marketing plans for the then-inaccessible township and rural audiences in the early 1990s. This highly successful agency has garnered an impressive following of blue-chip client under Alcock’s leadership. Alcock penned his second book, Kasinomics, which sheds light on the inner workings of South Africa’s informal economies.

For more information regarding the event PRESS HERE


SAMAC Trade Seminar – China

SAMAC held another successful trade seminar in China – this time in Beijing. Approximately 30 people attended the event. The seminar was held as part of the 2016 China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair.

Several media and industry stakeholders attended, including the chairperson of the China Nut Roasters Association, img_5224Mrs Weng Yangyang and the Director of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, Mrs Chen Ying, who also gave a presentation. Mr Mashudu Silimela, the DAFF Counsellor at the South African Embassy in China provided the opening address for the seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the importance of reduced import tariffs with important role players and to make Chinese media and thereby consumers aware of South African macadamias.


Updated Crop Forecast for the 2016 South African Macadamia Crop

By Barry Christie

Crop Forecast

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) has updated its final crop forecast for the 2016 season after a round of data collection. The new updated forecast for the 2016 season is 38 500 tonnes of nut-in-shell (NIS; measured at 1.5% kernel moisture). Based on the rate of expansion in the industry over the past five years, it was projected that the 2016 crop would be 50 500 t. However, hot dry weather conditions and widespread hail seriously affected the 2016 crop resulting in the latest 2016 crop forecast being 24% lower than the long term projections.

Fifty three percent of the crop is expected to come from the Mpumalanga province, followed by Limpopo (26%), KwaZulu-Natal (15%) and other regions (6%). Indications are that 66% of the 2016 crop would be processed to kernel which shows that NIS exports for the 2016 season have decreased substantially. Previous years’ data have shown that approximately 50% of the crop was exported as NIS to the Far East and the new data shows a shift in support for kernel markets. Therefore, although this year’s crop is significantly smaller than in 2015, the volume of macadamias processed to kernel is expected to increase from 23 840 tonnes NIS to approximately 25 470 tonnes.

To date little rainfall has occurred throughout the major production regions during the critical flowering period. According to Walter Giuricich, chairman of SAMAC, “The risk of a reduced crop in 2017 is still great, although it is at this stage not possible to make predictions.” The final figures for the 2016 crop will be made available early in 2017 and the new year’s crop estimate will be released in March 2017.

Issued by the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC)
14 October 2016

Contact: Barry Christie
Tel: +27 (0)13 753 2077
Cell: +27(0)73 084 1772


Success in Macadamia Tissue Culture

Dr. Elsje Joubert

Macadamia integrifolia and a cross between M. integrifolia and M. tetraphylla (Beaumont) can be successfully propagated in tissue culture! A laboratory I recently visited provide great scope for the future of the macadamia industry. Various people have tried to propagate macadamia plants in tissue culture, but very little success has been achieved thus far. With more than a decade of experience in tissue culture the owner of this laboratory has found the recipe.

Growing points from high yielding macadamia trees are placed in single tubes with an agar-based growth medium. Single tubes are used to minimise the risk of contamination between plants. The medium is carefully developed and consists of different concentrations of nutrients and growth hormone. After approximately 4 weeks newly grown plants are split at the nodes and transferred into sterile vials in a laminar flow cabinet once again. The protocol continues until root development. Different propagated cultivated varieties (cultivars) can be monitored to, for example, see how fast root development occurs. Experts are currently collecting a variation of different high-yielding and good quality producing cultivars from different climatic areas, soil types and heights above sea levels for multiplication.

Tissue culture allows for new hybrid cultivars to be screened and developed for the South African macadamia industry. This process takes some time, but is much quicker than the conventional method of propagation and selection. Genetic material can be compared to that of high-end performing cultivars within a few weeks to determine if the underlying genetic traits are present in the newly selected plant material. Most importantly, each plant is cultivated in a medium completely free of pathogens. After root formation, the plants are weaned in a sterile soil-based growth medium. Selection takes place throughout the process and only the most vigorous growers with the strongest root systems are selected for. There is much scope for new clonal rootstock development here and much exciting prospects in working together with experts who earned their licence for propagating in tissue culture.


Macadamia integrifolia selection


Hybrid macadamia cultivar (Beaumont) in tissue culture


Report on Cool Logistics Conference, Bremen, Germany 26th – 28th September 2016 and visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo, Netherlands.



The following topics were deemed to be the most relevant presented and discussed at the conference –

1. Tackling the issue of Global Food Waste.

Global Food Loss Waste (FLW) is an important topic due to the extent of food that is wasted annually. It has been reported that 24% of all food totalling 1.3bn tons worth USD1trillion is wasted around the world each year. The FLW is contributing 3.3 to 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Countries around the world are implemented regulations to control food waste and to minimise the extent of the problem. There are also initiatives being looked at to ensure all eligible food can be reused instead of disposing of it.

2.  Maersk (and Safmarine) launched the Reefer Container Remote Control Management (RCM).

maersk-and-safmarine-launched-the-reefer-container-remote-control-management-rcmMaersk Lines and Safmarine are due to launch the RCM technology during the 1st quarter of 2017. The technology permits the line and/or customers to remotely monitor and manage temperature settings, temperature recordings and probe readings, power supply and location mapping. The technology will deliver live data. The technology has been rolled out over a period of 5 years and units fitted to 270,000 of Maersk and Safmarine reefer units. A web based software program has been designed to allow customers to interact with the container in order to apply these options. A short overview of the capabilities of the technology was given by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen, Head of Remote Container Management at Maersk Lines. The impression was given that Maersk will allow customers to take ownership of the cold chain when the container is assigned to when the cargo is unpacked. I asked the question how Maersk will deal with the issue of claims should customers be permitted to download sensitive temperature data from the system, in the case where it can be identified that the line or container caused a condition in which the customer incurred losses (of whatever nature this may be). Catja replied that Maersk has dealt with this specific aspect and believe that partnerships with customers in reefer management is the preferred way forward. Maersk South Africa will role out the RCM technology in the 1st quarter 2017. In discussion with Catja I referred to the recent assessment of the in-transit cold treatment containers undertaken by the Citrus Growers. I pointed out that the RCM technology will be helpful in managing the technical requirements by monitoring and maintaining the probe temperatures, and especially the DAT and Power off events. For the time being Maersk will be the only container line to offer RCM technology, but it is believed that other lines will follow in the coming years. There were a few stands at the conference in which companies were displaying various RCM technology as well as live temperature data devices capable of transmitting live temperature data to customers. It is understood that some of the lines will adopt RCM technology which will permit the live recording of the reefer units energy consumption, the energy consumption can be recorded for the duration of a shipment. In future there is the possibility that reefer charges could be based on the specific voyage energy consumption by a single unit. This type of technology will over time provide many other uses over and above what has been described. Certainly the RCM technology is a major advancement in cold chain management.

3. Reefer Containers and Energy Management at Container Terminals

Jan-Eyk Spohler from Siemens AG gave a very interesting overview of the energy demands of reefer containers through a study conducted at the container terminal in the port of Valencia, Spain. The study showed that depending on the number of units stored at container terminals, the energy demand from reefer containers can represent up to 50% of the energy consumption at container terminals. Another interesting but more serious and concerning issue is study revealed that in some cases where there are a high volume of reefers being stored at container terminals, there could be power failures incurring at the reefer banks when there are high demands. This is a result of Kw demands exceeding the available supply. Jan-Eyk suggested that terminals implement a series of power banks in the reefer yards. The purpose of this will permit terminals to manage power supply more effectively. If a power failure is incurred it will be isolated to a particular power bank and not across the entire reefer area. There was a lot of debate around this particular topic with a few notable concerns raised –

a. Are container terminals and in particular transhipment ports cutting power to reefer containers with the intention of reducing energy costs?

b. It was pointed out by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen that the RCM data has indicated notable concerns regarding power off of reefer containers at some of the major ports. Maersk are collecting data on this in order to implement corrective action at terminals that show power off trends.

c. The RCM technology will deter terminals from cutting power supply to reefers or to place better emphasis on reefer management as the power off feed will be live and monitored by Maersk. The RCM technology will permit Maersk technical department to report power off to staff positioned at terminals around the globe. Corrective action can be implemented timeously where power has been cut to a reefer container longer than 30 – 60 min or any identified criteria.

d. I pointed out that in the case of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) there was no current systematic way of identifying critical control temperature units or for a power off event to be detected systematically. The reefer yards are monitored manually be staff who often overlook power off events and particularly to manage the critical control temperature reefer units. I mentioned that Fruit SA have recently met with TPT and there will be a process of development whereby systems will be developed to manged this aspect more effectively. I pointed out that terminals across the globe need to develop systems to manage reefer containers more effectively. This is necessary to maintain cargo temperature so that control temperature shipments do not deviate from temperature protocols. In some cases cold chain disruption can also lead to product waste.
All the presentations can be obtained from the following link:

In conclusion I believe that Fruit South Africa should send a delegate to attend the Cool Logistics Global Conference each year. It is important that a presentation is given from a South African point of view and that the South African fruit sector is represented at the conference.

Visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo Netherlands

visit-to-fresh-park-venlo-venlo-netherlandsThe purpose of the visit to Fresh Park Venlo was to obtain a first-hand view of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development in operation. In South Africa the SEZ policy has been finalized with key areas identified to develop SEZ’s. The agricultural sector stands to gain by creating Agri parks in identified SEZ areas. The Agri parks can be created to offer a multitude of supporting services to the agri sector, specifically in the area of logistics. Fresh Park Venlo is a prime example of how the SEZ can be developed to support the agri sector in a specific area. This example should be replicated in South Africa. In my view agri parks should be considered for Polokwane, Gauteng and Cape Town. It is suggested that Fruit South Africa engage with the provincial governments of Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape to drive the Agri park agenda in South Africa. South African and the Netherlands should create a cooperative agreement to steer the Agri Park and SEZ development in South Africa. The Netherlands have tried and tested practice in the development of the Agri parks that South Africa can learn from. More information can be obtained from the following link:


Boere Dag Levubu Farmer’s Day

“The Levubu farmer’s day took place on Friday 7 October at Maclands Estate. This day was a huge success. We thank all our sponsors and also everyone who attended the day. Guest speakers Profs Erik Holm and André Louw gave interesting talks on ethics in farm management. There was more than 40 sponsored stands and 12 equipment demonstrations in the macadamia orchard. The day focussed on “farming for the future” and the qualified pastry chef and winner of kykNET Kokkedoor season 1 and judge of the kykNET Koekedoor season 1 and 2: Tiaan Langenegger dished up a few healthy macadamia and avocado treats before the day was ended off with a lovely braai on the spit.”

Photos of the day:





Nursery Tree Quality the Key Focus at Recent KwaZulu-Natal Study Groups

KwaZulu-Natal SAMAC study groups were held at the North and South Coast during the second week of September with record attendance at both meetings. The theme was “nursery tree quality” with talks given on nursery tree quality, nutrition and cultivar choice. Growers on the North Coast also visited 2 local farms in Gingindlovu to learn more about the planting and management of young trees. South Coast growers visited T&T Agric Nursery to develop a better understanding of the SAMAC nursery system. A big thank you to Vitas and T&T Agric for sponsoring these days!


Successful KZN Macadamia Farmers Tour to Mpumalanga

A group of 17 macadamia farmers from the North and South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, recently enjoyed a very successful 5 day tour to Mpumalanga. Organised in conjunction with the annual SAMAC Symposium, the farmers visited a number of key growers and nurseries in the Nelspruit, Lows Creek and Barberton areas and were exposed to a variety of innovative and thought provoking techniques both with regards to farming practices and the postharvest handling of nuts. Growers were impressed by the large scale of production as well as the use of fertigation to manage tree growth. It was clear that pruning and mulching are an essential part of any macadamia farming system especially during a drought year. A big thank you to all the sponsors who made this tour possible including Farmers Agricare, Ivory Macadamias, Nseleni Nurseries, Green Farms, Syngenta, Rovic Leers and Nedbank and also to our hosts Martin de Kock, Neels and Claudia Raulstone, Danroc Farm and Nursery, Kudu Farms and Barberton Valley Plantations. We look forward to the next tour!



Skip to toolbar