By Stephen Ephraem
A macadamia nut project introduced by Hon Mike Madiro in Mutare North has excited smallholder farmers. Hon Madiro launched a pilot project on 29 October 2020 at Chirasika Primary School at Arda Transau about 35km outside Mutare.
For the pilot project, Hon Mike Madiro who is also the deputy minister of Home Affairs donated and Manicaland Provincial chairman for the ruling donated 60 macadamia nut seedlings at Chirasika for a demo orchard.
A community empowerment group called Macadamia Empowerment Group Association (MEGA) led by Mr Elvis Nyanhongo is spearheading the project with the aim of uplifting lives of 1000 households in the 18 wards of Mutare North constituency.
Speaking to the smallholder farmers who came in their numbers at the launch, Hon Madiro indicated that the project compliments various government
“This initiative encourages people to do away with donor dependency and be able to rely on their own. It compliments Vision 2030, devolution and the new education curriculum which encourages hands on approach to learning.
“The advantage of concentrating on a 20 tree orchard is that a farmer doesn’t strain her budget. After three to four years when the nuts shall starts being harvested, a farmer can realise between US$2 400 and US$4 000,” said Hon Madiro.
Hon Madiro further outlined that the 20 tree orchard model can be complimented by two other income generation project such as bee keeping and goat or sheep fattening.
Imparting knowledge to the farmers during the launch, MEGA leader Nyanhongo cautioned farmers not to apply short cuts.
“Macadamia nut tree can die or produce less if one doesn’t apply proper farming techniques. Transplanting of a macadamia seedling should be done after a farmer does recommended spacing, soil clearance and soils treatment. Failure to do so, the orchard might face challenges,” said Nyanhongo.
To show their excitement, there was a huge uptake of macadamia nut seedlings after the deputy minister’s launch. About 40 school registered to participate in the MEGA initiative.
Known as the “Green Diamond tree” in the country, macadamia nuts have been produced in Chipinge. Honde Valley has also embarked on serious macadamia nuts production.
Picture: Hon Mike Madiro (left) plants a macadamia nut seedling to mark the official opening of the 20 tree macadamia nut orchard projects in Mutare North