Each year Mayo Macs meets with its suppliers before the processing season to discuss market trends, international demand and the latest in best practice methodologies both in the factory and on the farms.
As one of the first South African macadamia processing companies in the country, this year’s event included tours of the group’s recently upgraded processing facilities.
Mayo Macs Chief Operating Office, Cobus Venter, said that since the company was restructured in 2021 to become a wholly-owned grower concern, the information days were geared towards the improvement of grower returns.
“One of our strengths at Mayo Macs is our comprehensive technical shareholder-grower support and communication strategies. Our technicians are just a WhatsApp message away. During the information days we also give the farmers practical examples on scouting for pests, maturity testing in the orchards, the fundamentals of orchard management, the correct applications of compost and improved record-keeping. Each day culminated in tours of the processing facilities which highlighted how pragmatic Mayo Macs is in its view of grower capital and how the recent factory upgrades translated into an immediate improvement in grower returns,” he said
Heinrich Grobler, head of food safety and quality at Mayo Macs, brought the farmers up to date on the very latest developments linked to Supplier Quality Assurance (SQA), microbial food pathogens’ association with macadamias and the evolution of food factories, and the necessary commitment towards social, ethical, and environmental best practices.
Interestingly, compost, chicken litter and/or kraal manure should not be applied to trees prior to or during harvest as they are a potential source of Salmonella spp. a high-risk food bacterium,” he told them.
In fact, before manure is applied in the orchards a sample should be tested by an accredited laboratory before any on-farm application.
“Any manures should rather be composted with other organic materials to a temperature of 55-60°C which is the thermophilic range in which pathogens and weed seed are killed off, but beneficial organisms remain intact. It is important the compost heaps are turned when a temperature of 60-65°C is reached. The temperature should not exceed 70°C. Three turns are adequate to produce safe, good quality compost for application in the orchards,” Grobler said.
In a bid to improve on-farm hygiene and cleaning, the company has offered its growers hygiene kits at a reduced price.
“The products were selected to meet the highest food safety standards and include water bath disinfectant, and products for cleaning workers’ hands as well as equipment such as dehusking lines, conveyor belts and drying bins,” Venter said.
Global Trading and Agency senior trader, Jaap van Oenen briefed the gatherings on marketing strategies for the year ahead saying he felt confident sales would be good in 2022 as there was no carry-over stock from the 2021 harvesting year.
Venter said he acknowledged the future looked very different from the past. “The changing world in which we live means we must extend beyond the traditional communication narrative of input costs versus revenue-per-hectare to one of shareholder-grower inclusivity and food safety.