Macadamia farmers at the recent Green Farms Nuts Company (GFNC) price offer meeting heard that the processors were gearing up for top prices and a bumper harvest, despite a growing preference for the Australian nut-in-shell product.

GFNC CEO Allen Duncan said at the Umhlali Country Club meeting on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast that as this was an election year, the South African currency was likely to fluctuate, which could affect returns. However, the growing global demand for the crop meant pricing was still well above last year’s offering.

Duncan said the group would consult experts on an ongoing basis as was usual to manage risk on behalf of the growers and to secure the best returns for their crop.

Despite a growing preference for the Australian nut-in-shell crop, which Duncan attributed to Australia’s 0% import duty tariff against South Africa’s 12%, he said this country remained an origin of choice for high quality macadamias, with the in-shell market predicted to improve as the season progressed.