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Reap From Macadamia

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Jackie Nalubwama


Few trees can give farmers a return on investment for a long time like macadamia, so much so that it may be called the golden tree. At the Harvest Money Expo at Kololo Independence Grounds, Gladys Natugonza of Biglad Agri-Tourism Farm in Fort Portal City praises the gift that Macadamia has been to her household. “As a business, it is the sweetest nut on the market, and it is a crop that can give you money. It is also perennial,” says Natugonza.

She says the market is also available, and the Government is promoting the growing and processing of macadamia. “At my farm, I have been getting orders from Kampala, upcountry, Europe, and Asia,” she says to illustrate how macadamia is a much-wanted nut. Besides selling the nuts, Natugonza says she makes a number of products, such as: oil, which is cholesterol-free; butter and powder, which can be added to sauce as a spice; and vegetables. Natugonza says that at her farm, guests pay $10,000 because we train them in organic farming practices. “We started farming about 12 years ago as a hobby, but we changed to commercial farming to get money,” she says. When she is not farming, Natugonza is actually an environmental officer in Fort Portal City, and she admits that she loves farming. “A seedling takes three years to give the first fruit. After 10 years, the tree gives you 40 kg in five months. It is seasonal and has two seasons: April to May and October to November,” she says. Therefore, macadamia is the type of tree that keeps giving, especially as it grows older.

Additionally, Natugonza says you do not need a lot of land to grow it. “You can grow macadamia on any size of land. The trees should be 7.5 metres apart so that they can spread out well,” she says. So, if you happen to have an acre, Natugonza says you can plant 75 trees.

Challenges

Natugonza gives the following challenges she faces in macadamia growing:

  1. Inadequate technology to crack the nut and get other products from it. “We need machines or equipment to crack and dry it,” she says.
  2. Transporting the products is also a challenge because she does not have trucks.

How lucrative macadamia is

“One kilogramme of processed macadamia is sh100,000, while an unprocessed kilogramme costs sh4000, but when you crack it, you get 200g,” she says. Natugonza is grateful to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Harvest Money Expo for the opportunity to learn about modern farming in the Netherlands, as the first runner-up in Vision Group’s Best Farmer competition. “The Dutch helped us to improve and get more products,” she says, adding, “I loved the farming technology in that country.”

The 2024 Harvest Money Expo is organised by Vision Group with sponsorship The expo is organised by Vision Group in partnership with the Netherlands Embassy, with other sponsors being National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Tunga Nutrition, Engineering Solutions (ENGSOL), Techo Serve, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, KOICA-K-ABIC, DFCU Bank, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, AKVO International, Pepsi, and State House.

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