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TenSenses focuses on macadamia nuts in Kenya

2024-04-02 22:24:09

It is best known for its exports of tea, coffee and cut flowers, but Kenya is also a major exporter of macadamia nuts. Last year, Nairobi lifted the ban on the export of unshelled macadamia nuts, which had been in place since 2015. After difficult years, the sector is starting again. The Pamoja group understands this and has just raised $8.5 million to accelerate the production of these nuts in Tanzania and Kenya, notably through its Kenyan subsidiary, TenSenses, which has a processing factory on the edge of the capital. .

From our correspondent in Nairobi,

In the TenSenses factory, employees work around large tables where macadamia nuts are spread out. After purchasing them from farmers, the company must dry them, shell them and then sort them. “ There, these are the nuts which have just been shelleddescribes Hillary Rotich, in charge of quality control. We must now separate the good from the bad. These are the good ones, we separated them from these, which were damaged by insects, from these which are moldy or even from those which are not ripe. »

TenSenses macadamia nuts mainly go to the United States or Europe. The company exports around 500 tonnes of processed nuts per year. Nuts that come from a network of 5,000 Kenyan farmers, small productions, most of them organic. “ Kenya is very different because there are 200,000 small farmers who have macadamia nuts on their land, but with very small production and mixed farming, as is often done in Kenya. », Explains Guillaume Maillard, general director of Pamoja.

Read alsoSouth Africa wants to maintain its rank as the world’s leading exporter of macadamia nuts

A place of choice on the global market

«On the same piece of land, they make macadamia nuts, but they can also make corn, tomatoes, mangoes, different things. Of our 5,000 farmers, they have an average of 26 trees each. Knowing that in commercial cultivation, on one hectare, we have more than 300 trees », he further specifies.

A more resilient model which still allows the country to have a significant place on the global market. “When looking at the global macadamia nut market, there are four main sources. Kenya, which is expected to have a production of 40,000 tonnes this year, behind China, Australia and finally South Africa, which is by far the largest producer and is expected to produce between 90 tonnes this year. 000 and 95,000 tonnes. Kenya, in all this, has a market share equivalent to, say, 15 to 20%», analyzes Kees Blokland, of the trading agency, Global Trading & Agency.

The sector is coming out of two difficult years. Macadamia, considered a luxury nut, has suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic and a rise in global inflation. Since then, its prices have started to rise. Supply and demand too, underlines Guillaume Maillard. Pamoja bet on it. With its new fundraising, the group intends, among other things, to develop its processing capacity in Kenya.

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