SOUTH AFRICA – Crookes Brothers, the South African agricultural company has said production of macadamia crop increased by 285% to 200 tonnes in the year ended 31 March 2018.

According to IOL Business report, the company which also operates in Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique is seeking to increase production of macadamia nuts by making more land available.

It is said to be in discussion with potential financiers to expand its macadamia orchards.

The report showed that the second macadamia harvest completed in May yielded 200 tons, dry nut-in-shell, from four and five-year old trees, 40% above its original feasibility for the 2018 crop year.

“With firm macadamia prices on global markets, we expect revenue from macadamias also to substantially exceed initial expectations,” the group said.

“We can report promising progress on our Mozambique macadamia project where we have recently completed our second harvest.

Some 400 hectares of land currently under grain crops remains available for the expansion of the macadamia orchards.”

To date, the company has planted 420 hectares of macadamia.

For the six months ended September 2017, the group reported 70.47% decrease in profits attributed to persistent drought that hit the country in the years 2015/16.

As the drought in the Western Cape comes to an end, the year to come prospects remains positive.

Deciduous fruit yields were 8% lower to 29,541 tonnes compared to the previous period, a reflection of the drought which also impacted on fruit quality.

Sugar production declined 6% to 556,710 tonnes as drought destroyed substantial area, plans are underway to replant the crop in the course of the year.

Banana production increased by 8% to 17 496 tons.

For its overall portfolio, the company expects positive growth in future as it expects global population to increase from around seven billion currently to over nine billion by 2050, with half of this increase occurring in Africa.

Crookes Brothers plans to capitalize on the opportunity that Africa was home to some 60% of the world’s unutilised agricultural land and water resource and offers numerous prime locations for agricultural development.

“At the same time global food consumption is expected to increase by 60 percent, driven by the increasing population and changing dietary patterns in the rapidly increasing middle classes in China, India and Africa,” the group said.

“The group has a proven track record of operational excellence and executing projects in often remote locations across Africa.

It has established a strong reputation as a reliable, ethical and long-term partner committed to community development.”