As South Africa’s macadamia harvest gets underway, experts are predicting a bumper crop with good returns for farmers as the world’s markets return to what has been termed the “new normal” post the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And as the world’s leaders grapple with the concept of a global economic reset following an event which has completely changed the manner in which the world works, thinks and lives, so too must all aspects of the domestic economy examine the integrity of its value chains and production processes.

In this South Africa’s macadamia industry is no exception.

As a world leader in the production of high quality macadamia nuts which are consumed in countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and in the Far East, the demand for ethical and environmentally responsible production processes will continue to grow.

Industry leaders are predicting a good crop at about 60 000 tons as the annual harvest gets underway, but they are also warning that climate change and the possible overuse of pesticides in the country’s orchards are beginning to impact heavily on yields.

Further, the responsible and judicious use of water in a water scarce country such as ours remains critical for the future sustainability of the sector.

In this edition of The Macadamia, readers are invited on a tour of the world’s largest processing plant where energy-saving innovation and environmental best practice are central to its leading edge design.

A young couple who has returned to live in South Africa after working for more than a decade in Japan and Germany explain how their innovative organic banana and macadamia products are catching the attention of both the domestic and export markets.

But perhaps, the most exciting of all, four macadamia trees which are believed to have been some of the first trees to be established in the country have been discovered in a garden on the edge of the Kloof Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal. The trees are believed to have originated from seed nuts imported from the United States and Australia and grown in the first commercial nursery established in Hillcrest in the early 1960s.

While the green theme remains central to this edition, so too are the stories of intrepid pioneers, innovative thinkers and farmers with advice from top experts aimed at supporting the growth and development of a sustainable agri-processing sector which contributes meaningfully to the well-being of the country’s people and their environment.

  • Gareth Wright