By Stephen Ephraim
Chipinge – MACADAMIA farming is set to transform lives of Honde Valley farmers with the establishment of an association that caters for their needs.
Launched on 1 September this year, High Value Macadamia Association of Zimbabwe is a brainchild of Honde Valley Macadamia Farming and Nurseries Consultancy.
The decision to formulate an association came after a huge number of communal farmer responded to the call of growing macadamia nuts in the area of Buwu and Hilltop primary schools in Honde Valley.
According to the executive director of the association, Mr Elvis Nyanhongo, the organisation is set to support macadamia nuts production.
“As a consultancy, we helped to register more than 600 farmers with Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA). The growers we dealt with constitute more than two thirds of all registered farmers Honde Valley. That is when we saw it vital to formulate an association that shall cater for the needs of the registered farmers,” said Mr Nyanhongo.
The association executive went on to indicate that their focus isn’t selective.
“We cater from small scale growers to large scale. Most of the registered farmers are still in the small-scale category. We have encouraged them to grow at least 20 macadamia nut trees per individual as a starting point. This helps them not to strain their budget.
“One advantage of concentrating on small hectarage is quality. On average a macadamia plant can produce 16kg but if a grower plants high grade variety and concentrates on quality, a plant can produce up to 30kg.
“Say a farmer has 20 plants and have a yield up of 600kg of nuts, it translates to US$3000 if nuts are sold at US$5 per kg. Our 600 small-scale farmers only have potential to contribute US$1 800 000 to the Gross Domestic Product of the country,” added Nyanhongo.
The association empowers growers by offering free training workshops.
“We offer free training workshops in collaboration with government arms like the department of Agricultural Extension Services (crop production) and AMA. When farmers receive technical support, they will be empowered to grow big.
“Our publicity team is working hard for the association to be visible on digital platforms and online. So far, farmers are getting technical support on social media platform WhatsApp.
“To ease business, we have partnered with agro dealers to supply our farmer with chemicals and irrigation equipment who will recover their cost in due course,” he added.
Nyanhongo further indicated that the association shall help to rural areas to become urbanised.
“We have arranged that both contractors and farmers create a trust fund which shall be used to develop communities with the aim of transforming rural areas into semi-urban districts.