Macadamia is one of the new crops in Uganda. Though native to Australia, it is currently grown in many areas of the world including South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Brazil, Zimbabwe and neighbouring Kenya. At the moment, South Africa and Kenya are the leading suppliers of macadamia nuts to Europe. Statistics from Eurostat indicate that Zimbabwe exported 304 million kilogramnmes of macadamia nuts to European Union countries worth €454m.
Macadamia prefers fertile, well-drained soils with annual rainfall of between 1,000–2,000mm and optimum temperatures of 25 °C and not falling below 10 °C. This means this crop can thrive in the Bukedi sub-region as well. Inter-planting with two cultivars, such as 344 and 660, improves yield through cross-pollination. Beehives near the orchard can generate additional revenue through honey production.
To help reduce herbicide use and weeding costs, macadamia can be integrated with livestock keeping like sheep. Intercropping macadamia nuts with quicker bearing crops is one way to generate early returns. Commonly, coffee is sometimes grown between macadamia nut trees. An alternative is to increase the initial planting density to get higher total production in the early years. Tree removal or radical pruning to improve light penetration is also very necessary.
- Geographical Location
In Uganda, macadamia mostly grows in the districts of Kyenjojo, Mityana and some parts of Northern Uganda.
The macadamia tree is usually propagated by grafting. While macadamia starts bearing fruits at three years, commercial quantities of seeds are reached when the trees are between 7–10 years old. However, once established, it continues bearing fruit for over 100 years.
Once established, an acre of Macadamia yields up to 7,500 kgs of nuts. With a kilogramme going for sh5,000, this means a farmer earns a gross income of sh37,500,000 from an acre of macadamia.