Are macadamia nuts profitable?

In an area best known for its extensive ranches and avocado plantations, macadamias are becoming a popular and profitable alternative crop. An ounce of macadamia nut roasted in oil, containing approximately 10 to 12 whole grains, has 204 calories, 21.73 grams of fat, 2.06 grams of protein and 3.66 grams of carbohydrates, along with 13 milligrams of calcium, 33 milligrams of magnesium, 57 milligrams of phosphorus, 94 milligrams of potassium and 2 milligrams of sodium. However, the global supply of macadamia is expected to increase, thanks to countries such as China planting macadamia trees. The nut has a 1-inch diameter leathery case, containing a spherical nut or two hemispherical nuts.

Considered a high-quality dessert nut due to their rich buttery flavor, macadamia nuts are a popular treat and a modern import in countries such as China and the United States. The macadamia nut tree is a medium-sized, fast-growing evergreen tree with dense dark green foliage that comes from Australia. A well-managed orchard with a distance between trees of 8 meters by 4 meters (or 312 trees per hectare) is expected to produce a maximum of 3.5 to 4 tons of nuts with shells per ha (12 to 13 kilograms per tree) at maturity, although poorly managed orchards or those in poor places may not reach these figures. It is worth the cost of inputs of about 100,000 rands per ha and waiting four to seven years for a tree to produce nuts and another eight months before the first nuts ripen.

On the contrary, it is best to peel the nuts immediately and air dry them or take them to the processor the next day. Some countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia also grow macadamia nuts, while the trees are found in California and Florida for the continental United States. Macadamia nuts are harvested manually after they fall, which occurs eight to nine months a year in Hawaii (July to March). While there are ten species of macadamia trees, only 2 produce the expensive nuts, and it takes seven to 10 years for the trees to start producing nuts.

Since they have only limited resistance to heat, frost, wind, drought, fire and drainage, it can be difficult to find a viable sized agricultural block for macadamia trees. Macadamia is undoubtedly one of the most profitable crops to grow, with a yield of up to 370,000 rands per hectare. While grain and oil are the main products of macadamia nuts, both the shells and the shells also have uses. Hawaii has the perfect climate for trees that need lots of rain, rich soil and warm weather to thrive, meaning regions that don't meet those requirements have to import macadamia nuts from Hawaii, South Africa, Latin America or Australia.

Macadamia nuts account for less than 1% of global nut production and Chinese market growth is expected to continue in the near future.