Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees in the flowering plant family Proteaceae. They are indigenous to Australia, native to northeastern New South Wales and central and southeastern Queensland specifically. Two species of the genus are commercially important for their fruit, the macadamia nut.
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|Zimbabwe Macadamia nuts
|Beaumonts and intergrifolia(main), Bauple nut, Queensland nut, Maroochi nut, Hawaii nut, Macadamia Intergrifollia
|Not less than 16mm, tree 7-40 feet tall, fruit 27mm in diameter
|Elimbar, ikaika, kakea and Keaau, nelmak 1 and nelmak 2
|Trees flower August-September, further development of fruit last 31weeks. Picked in march
|Storage and Packing
|Vacuum bags(poly liners or alufoil) packed in boxes, less than 8-15degrees Celsius,50-60% humidity
|Cool, dry, well-ventilated containers, refrigerated trucks (prevent rancidity and fungal growth)
Zimbabwe macadamia nuts production started around 2000 in the eastern border highlands. Currently, Chipinge is the country’s largest producer of nuts owing to its perfect climatic conditions and soils.
Zimbabwe macadamia nuts are easy to grow and, potentially, a lucrative cash crop. The nut is enclosed in a two-halved case. In each case, there is either one spherical nut or two semi-spherical nuts. These nuts have a smooth, hard shell that encases a white kernel.
Macadamia nuts can be roasted or eaten raw. They are also used in baking and confectionery. They are also processed and used in the manufacturing of lotions, cosmetics and soap.
In Zimbabwe, macadamia is mostly, also referred to as Beaumont and intergrifollia. Other people from other regions also call it the bauple nut, Queensland nut, or the maroochi nut. Its scientific name is Macadamia intergrifollia.
The macadamia tree can grow to a height of up to 40 feet, with the dwarf variety growing up to nothing less than 7 feet. The leaves of this tree are oval and are arranged in 3-4 whorls. The tree produces pink-red flowers and fleshy fruit that is usually between 16mm and 27mm in diameter, depending on the variety.
Zimbabwe produces quite a wide range of macadamia nuts. Some of these types include the Elimbar, ikaika, kakea and Keaau. Some parts of the country also produce the nelmak 1 and nelmak 2 varieties, which are relative of lower quality compared to the other types of nuts.
Macadamia trees flower between August and September. Further development of the fruits takes at least 31 weeks and the fruits ripen and are ready for harvest around March. Macadamia nuts fall on their own once they are mature and are then picked manually. They are then de-husked immediately or within 24 hours after the harvest to avoid delay in processing time as the husk tends to harden.
Graders carefully sort macadamia nuts for size and quality immediately after they are removed from the husks and dry them to reduce moisture content for them to be crisp and firm. They are then packed in vacuum bags that are either poly liners or alufoil and later packed into boxes. The bags and boxes are usually branded with the product name, country of produce, weight and manufacture, and expiry date.
They are then stored in temperatures between 8 and 15 degrees Celsius, depending on how hot or cold the climatic conditions are at the time of storage. It is also essential to ensure that they are not exposed to more than 60% humidity to prevent mould growth and loss of aroma.
Macadamia nuts are transported by air or sea and later supply it locally by rail, road or truck. Whichever the means, it is important to ensure it is under cool, dry and well-ventilated conditions. Refrigerated containers and trucks ensure the nuts are free from mould growth and rain acidity.
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How long does it take for a macadamia tree to grow nuts?
It takes six to seven years before the tree will start to produce nuts, but once it has matured it is likely to produce more than 50 kilos of nuts in its shells each year.
Can I grow macadamia nuts in Zimbabwe?
In Zimbabwe, macadamia nuts are grown mainly in Chipinge, Chimanimani ,Nyanga and Honde valley in the Manicaland province, in the Eastern Highlands of the country. The crop can, however, be grown in Agro-ecological Regions One to Three.
Can macadamia grow in Africa?
Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees native to Australia (but now grown in countries all over the world, like South Africa, the USA, Kenya, Malawi and Guatemala).
How many times a year do you harvest macadamia nuts?
To prevent losses from mold, germination, and animal damage, macadamia nuts should be harvested at least every four weeks during rainy weather, though they don’t need to be harvested as frequently during dry weather.