The Macadamia would like to take this opportunity to congratulate South Africa’s macadamia industry body, SAMAC, on successfully hosting the International Macadamia Symposium in September in KwaZulu-Natal.

The event was headlined by macadamia experts from all over the world, resulting in plenary sessions that were dense in content and hugely valuable from a range of perspectives.

This edition of The Macadamia has benefitted enormously from the symposium as we are able to report on the latest in orchard management, an overview of the world’s macadamia producers, and advice for growers attempting to outlast the downturn.

At the same time, we profile some of the 40 exhibitors at the symposium and their various products, which ranged from high technology tools aimed at advancing precision farming to increasing sustainability.

Also, in this edition – which is the last for 2023 – we talk to a father and son farming partnership in southern KwaZulu-Natal adopting unique Australian orchard pruning and orchard management methodologies to bring young trees into production sooner, while simultaneously rejuvenating trees considered “geriatric” and past their production peak.

So far, the trials are proving hugely successful under the watchful eye of Mayo Mac Technical Services Manager in KZN Andrew Sheard.

With South Africa’s agricultural debt set at a worrying R200 billion, in this edition, The Macadamia sits down with bankers, agricultural economists, processors and farmers to get a better view of the financial stability of the macadamia sector.

And while not all of those to whom we spoke are quoted in our lead story, it is clear that an upturn cannot come quickly enough. Farmers are in a concerning cash-flow squeeze, with many cutting back on fertilisers and pesticides and regrettably retrenching staff. Interestingly, it is believed the 5 000 tons of nuts that did not make the grade at factories in the 2023 season were as a direct result of cutbacks on pest management and tree-feeding regimes.

While some in the industry are urging farmers to plant more orchards now in preparation for the turnaround, others say the time is ripe to really invest both time and resources in preparing orchards for the good times, which are undoubtedly ahead.

And so it is that the team at The Macadamia wishes all of its readers, advertisers and contributors a truly happy and restful festive season, followed by a hugely successful and profitable 2024.