Macadamia farming in Kenya

There are several lucrative business opportunities in the agriculture sector. For example, you can start farming macadamia in Kenya.

The Macadamia nuts are large, round nuts with a hard, brown shells. It grows on a tree that is related to the pistachio tree. 

Why Farm Macadamia Nuts?

Macadamia nuts are in high demand and so they are profitable. There are several reasons why they are in high demand.

They’re used in oils, butter, and chocolates. In addition, they are used as ingredients in dishes like salads and desserts.

People eat daily. So there are a lot of people that need macadamia nuts. This high demand makes it a profitable nut in Kenya.

Steps Involved In Starting a Profitable Macadamia Nuts Farming In Kenya

Macadamia nuts are a profitable crop in Kenya, and you will do well to start farming macadamia.

To help you get started on a good footing, here are some of the tips that can help you to realize your dream and reach your potential.

Find a market

When looking for a market, find out about the demand for the product and which type is in demand.

You will also need to the cost of the product on the market and the people that are buying the product.

Acquire a farm

Look for a piece of land that has fertile soil. 

The farm should also be near a source of water and must be in an open area where there’s sunlight.

Purchase inputs and other supplies

Purchase seeds, fertilizers, and other supplies to get started with your farming. Make sure to buy quality seeds from a trusted supplier.


When planting, make sure that you are leaving enough between plants.

They should be planted 3 meters away from each other for proper growth. But they’re many in a row, then 5 meters will be ideal.

However, it’s not different when you are dealing with dwarf varieties. They can be planted 2 or meters away from each other.

Caring for the trees

Water the plants often. Prune or get rid of dead plants. They should also be fertilized.

Harvest the nuts

Harvest the nuts only when they are ready. How can you identify a ripe Macadamia nut? There are so many signs.

A ripe macadamia nut changes from green to light brown. When ripe, they feel soft to the touch. So if it’s still hard, then it is not yet ripe. 

When the macadamia nut trees are mature, you’ll be able to harvest the nuts. 

Make sure to use the proper harvesting techniques to ensure the highest quality product.

Finally, market and sell your nuts 

To benefit from your sweat, you will have to market your nuts. There are several ways of marketing your nuts.

You can take advantage of your local radio station to advertise your product. You can also attend local functions to market your nuts.

Target potential buyers such as 

such as local stores, and restaurants.

Macadamia Varieties Grown In Kenya

There are several varieties of Macadamia. But the most common ones in Kenya are integrifolia, tetraphylla, and ternifolia macadamia. 


Macadamia integrifolia real -macadamia farming in kenya
Macadamia integrifolia
  • This macadamia integrifolia is an evergreen tree.
  • It can reach a height of up to 2 feet.
  • It requires slightly acidic soils that are well-drained.
  • The plant requires enough water.
  • They mature between 3 and 4 years.
  • One plant can produce about 100 nuts.


Macadamia tetraphylla real -macadamia farming in kenya
Macadamia tetraphylla
  • Macadamia tetraphylla reaches a height of 20 meters. 
  • It’s suitable for slightly acidic well drained soils.
  • It needs watering.
  • This type of macadamia takes reaches maturity between 7 to 10 years.
  • You can harvest up to 100 fruits from one plant.


macadamia ternifolia
Macadamia ternifolia
  • The macadamia ternifolia can grow up to 15 meters in height. 
  • It has a dense and rounded canopy. 
  • This variety of macadamia does better in loamy soils.
  • Watering should be done regularly.
  • It reaches maturity in a year’s time.
  • One plant can produce around 50 nuts in a year.

Cultivation Of Macadamia Nuts In Kenya

Planting of seeds

Don’t overcrowd your plants. Leave enough space between the plants for proper growth

Plant them in rows about 10 to 15 centimeters away from each other. How deep should the nuts be planted? 

Plant the nuts 5 centimeters deep and cover them with fine earth.

Why should the nuts be spaced?

Spacing ensures that the plants have enough room to grow and also helps to reduce competition for resources.


Make sure that the plants are receiving enough water. Regular watering increases the productivity of the plants.

How often should macadamia trees be watered?

There’s no clear-cut answer to the question. However, they should be watered at least once a week.


Pruning is the removal of dead or branches that are too close to each together.

This is an exercise that should be done by farmers on a regular basis. It increases productivity and results in the healthy growth of plants.


There are so many reasons why plants should be fertilized. But the major reason is to increase the yield of the plant. 

What fertilizers should be applied to macadamia plants?

Apply fertilizers that have nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

How often should such fertilizers be applied?

Although it’s difficult to determine how often fertilizers should be applied, you need to apply fertilizers once in a period of 3 months.

Harvesting the nuts

It’s important to know that the nuts should only be harvested when they are ready.

How can you tell that a nut is ready?

When a nut is ripe, the husks usually turn brown and the nuts easily come off the tree when they are touched.

What is the ideal season for harvesting macadamia nuts?

The ideal time for harvesting macadamia nuts is during the dry season. 

Because during this season, the husks are dry and the nuts are ripe.

Storing the nuts

You should store them in a cool dry place. The place should be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Never store macadamia nuts in direct sunlight and heat not in a moist place. Excessive heat and moisture spoil the nuts.

Read also: Butternut farming in Kenya

Climatic Conditions For Macadamia Farming In Kenya

There are certain factors you need to consider when looking for a suitable climate for your macadamia.

1. Temperature: The ideal temperatures for macadamia trees are usually between  18-30°C.

Fortunately, Kenya has the right temperature for macadamia farming. 

However, you need to ensure that the temperature is not lower than 18°C.

2. Rainfall: Do research to find out how much rainfall the area receives.  

Macadamia needs at least 1,000mm of rainfall in a year. 

3. Soil: Before you plant your macadamia, it is important to test the soil to find out whether it is acidic or alkaline.

Macadamia favors well-drained soil with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. They should neither be too alkaline nor acidic.

4. Sunlight: Does the area receive enough sunlight? This is an important question you need to sincerely answer.

Fortunately, the sunlight in Kenya is enough for the growth of macadamia. 

The plants only need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight. But too much sunlight is not good for the plant.

Common Macadamia Nuts Diseases

There are so many diseases that affect macadamia nuts. But I’ll only cover 4 common macadamia diseases.

1. Phytophthora root rot

Phytophthora is a fungal disease
Phytophthora disease
  • Phytophthora is a fungal disease.
  • It causes root rot in plants. 
  • This disease is rampant in humid climates.
  • It’s spread through the soil.


  • Phytophthora results from excessive watering.
  • Wet soils are a breeding ground for fungi.
  • A poor drainage system can also be another breeding ground for this fungus. 
  • Since it flourishes in water, it can easily spread when there’s stagnant water.


Look out for the signs:

  • Stunted growth.
  • Yellowing and wilting of leaves.
  • Discoloring of roots.


One of the preventive measures is working on the drainage systems and getting rid of infected plants.

If the plant is already infected, then spread fungicides on the infected plants to curtail the further spread of the disease.

2. Bacterial blight

Bacterial blight disease
Bacterial blight disease
  • Bacterial blight is a bacterial infection. 
  • It affects the leaves and nuts of macadamia trees. 


  • It is caused by the bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris. 
  • The Xanthomonas campestris spread through wind and water droplets.


  • Dropping of nuts prematurely.
  • Dark spots on the nuts.
  • Yellowing and wilting of leaves.


Get rid of infected branches and leaves. While doing this, apply a fungicide. 

3. Leaf spot

Leaf spot disease
Leaf Spot disease
  • Leaf spot is a fungal disease.
  • It affects the leaves of macadamia trees.
  • The fungus is spread through spores that are carried by wind and rain.


  • Leaf spot is caused by fungi, Phyllosticta, Cercospora, and Alternaria species. 


  • Black or brown circular spots on leaves.
  • Sometimes, a yellow halo around the spots.


Get rid of infected branches and leaves.

While you do this, apply a fungicide on the infected plants to reduce the further spread of the disease.

Weeds are usually breeding grounds for fungus. So make sure that you get rid of weeds around your plants.

4. Powdery mildew

Bacterial blight disease - macadamia farming in kenya
Bacterial blight disease
  • Powdery mildew is a fungal disease.
  • It produces a powdery coating on the stems and leaves of plants.
  • It results in low yields.


  • Powdery mildew is caused by excessive humidity and insufficient sunlight. 
  • It was spread by wind and rain.


  • The powdery coating on the leaves and stems of plants. 
  • Stunted growth and yellowing of leaves.
  • Reduces yields.


Preventive measures should include avoiding overcrowding and ensuring that the plants receive adequate sunlight.

Spread fungicides on the infected plants. But this should be done with caution. Make sure it is done the right way.

Final Thoughts On Macadamia Farming In Kenya

Macadamia farming in Kenya is a great opportunity for a small family farm. 

There are a few things to consider before getting started, such as 

  • the cost of planting and maintaining the orchard 
  • the market for macadamias, and
  • the weather conditions in your area

Macadamia farming in Kenya is a great way to make a profit while also helping the environment. 

However, you need to consider these challenges such as the cost of establishing a plantation and the potential for pests and diseases.

But overall macadamia farming is a great option for anyone looking to get into agriculture.

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