A macadamia is a tasty and very nutritional nut that was originally and indigenously grown in Australia. There are several varieties of macadamias, although only two are edible. Over the last 20 years, the macadamia has grown in popularity mostly for its high protein and fat content. Many that desire to adopt an exclusive vegetarian diet see the macadamia as a suitable and worthy replacement of the meat products and food.
The macadamia nut, considered to be the world’s finest dessert nut, belongs to the Proteaceae family. It is native to the coastal rain forest areas of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales in Australia. Macadamia is unique in that it is the only native Australian plant to attain the status of a commercial food crop. Macadamia nuts are the fruit of the evergreen macadamia tree.
The three species with commercial importance are Macadamia integrifolia, M. ternifolia, and M.tetraphylla.
The nuts are today grown in many countries, including South Africa, Kenya, the U.S.(Hawaii), China, Guatemala, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Brazil. Once planted, the trees need three-five years before bearing fruit and ten years to reach full maturity. They require warm temperatures and good annual rainfall to yield a good crop. The biggest threats to production are droughts and heavy frost. The nuts are encased by a hard, woody shell that in turn is protected by a green-brown fibrous husk that splits open as the nut matures.
Macadamia nuts are calorie-rich nuts that are high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. One
ounce (28 grams) offers:
Rich in nutrients
●Fat: 23 grams.
●Protein: 2 grams.
●Carbs: 4 grams.
●Sugar: 1 gram.
●Fiber: 3 grams.
●Manganese: 58% of the Daily Value (DV)
●Thiamine: 22% of the DV.
Kenya is currently the third top macadamia producer with a global market share of 13 percent (7,750 tonnes on kernel basis). The bulk of Kenyan macadamia is produced by about 200,000 smallholder farmers. Kenya’s macadamia production increased rapidly during the last decade, from around 11,000 tonnes nut-in shell (NIS) production in 2009 to 42,500 tonnes in 2018.19 Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) projects that with increased acreage under the crop, production will reach 60,000 tonnes NIS by 2022.