The production of macadamia nuts has gripped upper Chipinge as most farmers have realised the lucrative nature of the venture which is now perceived as the ‘diamond of Chipinge’. Chipinge is a unique district with all the five ecological regions with macadamia trees mainly being grown in high rainfall areas.
The macadamia plants in Chipinge are now known as the green diamond due to the high demand of macadamia nuts internationally.
The nuts’ high demand internationally is greatly improving economic activities in the Eastern border district and nationally, through improving foreign currency inflows.
A macadamia nuts farmer in his own right, Chipinge East legislator and Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services, Dr Win Mlambo said farmers in the district should prioritise the growing of macadamia nuts to improve foreign currency inflows and boost their operations.
Chipinge Macadamia Nuts Association Secretary, Mr James Maisiri said growing macadamia nuts has proved to be viable business for most farmers, adding that the Zimbabwean nut is rated among the best internationally.
Mr Maisiri also said the value of the nuts has seen the influx of thieves, stealing the produce from farmers, a situation he said requires deterrent measures.
Macadamia nuts can be eaten in raw form or can be processed into various products that include cooking oil, chocolates and perfume with the shells being used to make furniture, among other uses.
THE one-stop macadamia nuts shop, which was officially opened this year in Chipinge, has brought smiles to many farmers who were grappling with high costs of buying inputs from faraway places.
The shop, Cropate Agricultural Services, was opened after an outcry from macadamia farmers who were facing challenges of acquiring chemicals and other inputs. Recently, the shop availed 10 tractors to farmers, which are being used for various tasks. The shop also provided boom sprayers, stink bug chemicals and fertilisers.
Macadamia Nuts Association secretary Mr James Maisiri said the coming in of the one-stop centre benefited the farmers, as all inputs they required were delivered to their doorsteps. Mr Maisiri said the one-centre shop, which is the first of its kind in the country, was offering technical expertise to the farmers, which was boosting the sector.
“The opening of macadamia shop in Chipinge is greatly assisting our farmers in improving the macadamia farming sector. In previous seasons, a lot of farmers were finding the going tough because of huge capital required to buy inputs. The farmers were facing challenges in securing import licences for the inputs. Now, the inputs are being delivered to our doorsteps. The centre also provides experts, who are helping farmers to grow the crop,” he said.
Apart from offering expertise and selling inputs, Mr Maisiri said the shop was also providing lines of credit to farmers.
“Macadamia nuts production is a very expensive, the shop is offering a credit facility where a farmer can borrow inputs and pay for them after harvesting the crop,” he said.
An elated macadamia nuts farmer Mr Simbiso Barekwa of Clearwater hailed the one centre shop, which is close to his home.
“We are grateful to investors who decided to open a macadamia shop close to farmers,” he said.