A recently released study indicates that Rwanda has great potential for macadamia production.
Macadamia are edible nutlike seeds that are considered a valuable cash and food crop. They can be used for nutritional purposes, including the production of skin care oil.
Macadamia was introduced in Rwanda in early 1980’s though it failed to attract major commercial interest from various stakeholders, including public and private sector operators as well as international development partners.
The feasibility study for Macadamia Development and Processing in Rwanda was commissioned by Kayonza District with support from the Belgian-Rwandese Study Fund.
The study shows that Rwanda has great potential and can financially benefit from growing this crop.
“The climatic condition in Rwanda is ideal for high quality macadamia and high yields. Trees will produce nuts for much of the year from multiple flowerings. This will keep a processing plant operating for longer and give farmers a more consistent income,” reads in part the preliminary report.
Emmanuel Murangira, a Consultant Economist and researcher who was part of the team that conducted the study, stated that the returns of growing the plant are phenomenal.
“The study was conducted in Kayonza, Nyagatare, Ngoma, Bugesera (in the Eastern Province) among other areas, which all met the special conditions suitable for growing of macadamia,” said Murangira.
He added that it is a very profitable cash crop with high market potential though it requires to be grown on a large scale.
Macadamia seedlings are a bit expensive though worth it because the crop is lucrative.
There are currently between 85,000 and 200,000 macadamia trees in Rwanda, producing 700 metric tonnes of nuts-in shell annually, according to estimates.
Basing on the estimates of the study, production of about 16,000 metric tonnes over the next 15 years would generate more than US$30m annually by 2020.
Currently, production is largely organised through farmers cooperatives.
“A Rwandan macadamia industry will be profitable for all participants provided it produces a high quality product”, concluded the study report.
According to recommendations made in the report, the anticipated production growth calls for the setting up of a primary and secondary processing factory to add value for the local production to maximise returns.