Updated 2 June 2017
According to tree sales data received from nurseries, the macadamia industry is still growing rapidly. The rate of growth remains to be on the increase in all provinces. In 2016 the South African macadamia industry planted at least 3 870 hectares (ha).
Mpumalanga remains the major production region in South Africa, still with the highest growth rate. The North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal has responded to their appetite for macadamias and new plantings in this province is increasing substantially. According to the latest tree census in 2012 there were approximately 19 000 ha established in South Africa. When the growth by the number of trees sold is taken into consideration, there is already approximately 28 000 ha established in Southern Africa, which includes Swaziland.
‘Beaumont’ remains the most widely planted cultivar. ‘A4’ has gained much popularity in recent years. Other commonly planted cultivars include ‘816’, ‘814’, ‘Nelmak 2’, and ‘788’.
Macadamia production in South Africa has increased exponentially and the rate of production is expected to increase even more in the near future due to an exponential increase in new plantings annually. The 2016 crop was significantly reduced due to a sever drought.
Table 1. Total historical macadamia production in South Africa, expressed in Metric Tonnes on an inshell basis at 1.5% kernel moisture content.
More than 95% of South Africa’s macadamia produce is exported. According to corrected figures received from the South African Revenue Service, the total value of macadamia exports in 2016 was R2 714 435 153.
Exported macadamia kernel totalled 25 130 tonnes when converted to an inshell basis at 28%* crack out and saleable kernel, which was approximately 63% of the total exported macadamia crop in 2016 on a volume basis. The weighted average price for macadamia kernels was R227.15/kg and R63.60/kg when converted to an inshell basis. The weighted average price for NIS was R75.68/kg.
* Note that the 28% is an arbitrary value and this figure will differ between areas and company. This will have a significant impact on the total tonnage of kernel on a NIS basis and the weighted average price per kg.
Table 2. South African Macadamia Export Markets (2012-2016). Values are expressed in Metric Tonnes on an inshell basis at 1.5% kernel moisture content.
Total nut in shell (NIS) macadamia exports totalled 14 747 tonnes with a value of R1 116 108 845, with Vietnam, Hong Kong and China the biggest export destination
Kernel exports totalled 7036.34 tonnes with a value of R 1 598 326 308. North America is the largest kernel market (40%). Europe absorbed 38% of South Africa’s kernel. The five major export destinations in Europe were the Netherlands (29%), Germany (21%), Spain (13%), the United Kingdom (12%) and Switzerland (6%). The remainder 18% of the European market consisted of 11 other countries, which included in order of significance amongst others Italy, Norway, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Greece.