W38: Macadamia Update

In W38 in the macadamia landscape, in Australia, thousands of hectares (ha) of sugar cane farmland are being converted to cultivate macadamia orchards due to their potential for higher returns and sustainability. Macadamia prices are forecasted to have better long-term growth prospects compared to raw cane sugar exports. The global macadamia market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3% between 2023 and 2030, highlighting the value potential of this transition.

The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) has revised its forecast for the 2023 Australian macadamia crop due to lower-than-expected yields and low farm-gate prices. The crop is currently estimated at 48.50 thousand metric tons (mt) in-shell at 3.5% moisture, down from the initial projection of 53.16 thousand mt. Additionally, a significant portion of the crop is forecasted to be exported as nut-in-shell, potentially doubling compared to previous years. Despite these challenges, the quality of the macadamias remains excellent, with stable demand for Australian macadamias in the market. The final crop figure will be announced in early Dec-23.

Furthermore, Australia has shifted from attempting to eradicate the varroa mite, a deadly bee parasite, to managing its spread due to numerous factors working against eradication efforts. This decision follows a USD 132 million government response that resulted in the euthanasia of 30 thousand hives. The varroa mite, which weakens bees and causes viral infections, was detected in sentinel hives at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales (NSW) in 2022, making Australia the last continent to be affected. While the transition to management will cease mandatory hive euthanasia, beekeepers must undertake hive testing and report results to the Department of Primary Industries. The move towards management is expected to help soften the economic impact on beekeepers. However, the mite could eventually spread throughout the country, with potential consequences for industries reliant on bee pollination, such as macadamia nuts, apples, almonds, melons, and cherries.

Lastly, farmers in Nwoya district, Uganda, are undertaking mass production of macadamia trees to combat climate change, promote nutrition, and boost household income by selling nuts and oil from macadamia trees. The initiative, led by the Presidential Advisor on Nuts and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), has provided seedlings to local farmers and institutions. The project aims to plant macadamia trees on 150 acres of land, with plans to expand to 100 thousand hectares (ha), benefiting the entire Northern region. Macadamia trees contribute to climate change mitigation and offer economic opportunities for farmers.

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