Ten Senses Africa Ltd.(TSA)
“Scaling up Kenyan Fair Trade macadamia exports”
Although macadamia was introduced into Kenya in 1944, and Kenya is the 5th largest exporter in the world, Kenyan macadamia is far from meeting its full potential as an export crop. Exports are dominated by a one large company, which mainly sources nuts from its own plantations. Yet Kenya has an estimated 100,000 farmers of macadamia with 900,000 trees. However, in the past decade the majority of these farmers have neglected their trees due to unstable prices, the need to deal with unreliable or corrupt brokers & uncertain market access. As a result, the Kenya macadamia export market falls far short of its potential and farmers do not realize the income growth that they should. Also, due to unscrupulous traders exporting immature nuts in 2005, Kenyan macadamia has a poor reputation. This is unnecessary since Kenyan macadamia, when properly cultivated and processed, are superior to those grown by its main competitors, Australia, Guatemala and South Africa.
The problem is not with either the market demand (macadamia imports into the US in are typically around 20 thousand MT with a value of about $50 million) nor with the potential quality of Kenyan macadamia (typically high with good practice). The problem is mainly a know-how and a supply chain problem, resulting in an inability of Kenyan farmers to gain market access to the major macadamia markets. This in return results in neglect of the trees and a general decline in quality and quantity of nuts available. Interventions in the area of product quality development, market access and market development will help to reverse this decline.
Ten Senses Africa is working with two farmer groups in Kenya. WAMATTA (Wakulima wa Macadamia Taita Taveta Association) and MKEMFA (Mount Kenya East Macadamia Farmer’s Association). A MoU has been signed with WAMATTA and is under negotiation with MKEMFA. These MoUs outline the cooperative process to allow the farmer’s in these groups to achieve steady market access, organic certification, and fair trade certification in partnership with TSA. These groups currently have approximately 1,800 farmers as members.
The grant will build on the foundation of the past year’s macadamia value chain project by scaling up processing capacity, improving technical assistance to the farmers and achieving and maintaining Fair Trade and Organic certification for the export of Kenyan macadamia to the US and EU markets
Grant Timeline:March 15th, 2010 to September 14th 2011