Macadamia nut processing company Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC) has started construction to expand its macadamia nut processing facility, in White River, Mpumalanga, with Phase 1 set for completion in 2018.
According to the Southern African Macadamia Growers Association (Samac), new macadamia tree plantings in South Africa have tripled in the last four years from 1 250 ha in 2013 to 3 870 ha in 2016, with an almost doubling of plantings between 2015 and 2016 from 2 000 ha to 3 870 ha.
Currently, there are 28 000 ha of established macadamia orchards, with the largest growing region being Mpumalanga, followed by Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
“We are invested for the long run. We will cultivate our business alongside growth in the crop. Based on historic and ongoing exponential plantings, our view is that it is imperative to increase processing capacity to ensure long-term viability for the industry and our farmers,” GFNC GM Alex Whyte said.
He noted that industry figures project a 40% increase of nut in-shell from 38 500 t in 2016 to 64 800 t in 2020.
“To absorb this astronomic supply increase, our approach rests on three key pillars: processing capacity, sophisticated product marketing and value add, all of which are inextricably linked to being able to sell at currently buoyant prices in future,” he said.
Phase 1 of the expansion project will see the factory size increase by an additional 7 000 m2 from current its 3 000 m2 and result in a 40% increase in processing capacity from 5 500 t to 8 000 t dry nut in-shell and an additional 250 t drying bin storage capability.
Completion of Phase 2 of the project is set for 2020, with key components including increasing processing capacity upwards of 15 000 t dry nut in-shell, further technology and equipment upgrades, as well as increased storage and warehousing.