The government through Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority is set to establish a ‘macadamia’ processing plant targeting next year.
Talks are in advanced stages with Equatorial Nut processors a Kenyan based company and a local Macadamia cooperative ‘Twihangire cooperative’ to venture in the business.
In interview with Gatarayiha Norce Elysee, the Director of Twihangire at his stand in the ongoing Kigali International trade fair, the industry will be responsible for processing and packing macadamia nuts ready for export.
Macademia is grown above 100 hactares across the country with ten tonnes produced per month. It’s expected that next year production will increase to 30 tonnes month per because ten tonnes was the first harvest since 2003.
Gatarayiha urged Rwandans to plant Macadamia as a potential revenue generating plant if it’s exploited, cited example where a tree can produce 50Kilograms and above for more than 100 years.
The farm gate price of one Kilogram of Macadamia is at Rwf500 while 80grams of Macadamia nuts at expo are sold at Rwf500.
“It’s called a passionate plant because the older the macadamia plant the more production you get,” Gatarayiha said. Macadamia plant can be used to produce oil, nuts, ice cream, and chocolate.
The cooperative have not exported but samples were taken to UK, Belgium, and European Union where they were proved to be of high quality.
Gatarayiha said that the cooperative is in a process to have documents which will allow exporting in interested countries. United States of America also requested for samples and negotiations are on to send one tonne.
The cooperative is challenged by lack of seed nursery with only one seeds nursery but plans are underway to establish about four seed beds across the country.
In collaboration with Fresh co seeds, rural sector support and RHODA seeds have been provided to the different farmers.
The government started a campaign to plant Macadamia targeting to plant between 2000 and 10,000 hectares in a period of five years (2005-2010).