Category: Industry News


KZN Study Group Report

SAMAC study groups were held in KZN on the 15th of November (North Coast) and the 16th of November (South Coast). Both these days were very well attended. The focus of the study groups was on pest control, scouting and biological control measures. An interesting line-up of experts in the field of ‘macadamia pests’ gave powerful presentations and the information shared was extremely useful. Lindi Botha gave an interesting talk on ‘Rearing of Stinkbugs’. Stephan Honiball (Vital Bugs, Tzaneen) spoke about Trichogramma wasps being used as biological control agents for false coddling moth (FCM). Dr. Schalk Schoeman (ARC-Nelspruit) gave an eye-opening presentation on the effects of pruning in controlling pests and our final presentation was by Matt Flanagan (Farmers Agri-Care) who gave a very interesting talk on integrated pest management (IPM) in macadamia production.


Additionally, pest scouting workshops were conducted by Dr Schalk Schoeman at Bruce Zunckel’s farm (KZN North) on the 15th of November and at the Mattisons farm (KZN South) on the 17th of November. These scouting workshops were mainly aimed at the staff to train them on how to properly scout for pests in the orchard. Dr Schoeman demonstrated several techniques on how to look for pests during their different life stages. The main pests being scouted were stink bug, macadamia nut borer (MNB) and false coddling moth (FCM).


A very big and special thank you to Bruce Zunckel, Darrel Wichmann (Sea View farm) and Ryan Taylor for allowing us to use their farms for the study group and pest scouting workshops. Also a very big thank you to Farmers Agri-Care, Vital Bugs and Plan-A-Head for sponsoring our study groups.



SAMAC Trade Seminar – China

SAMAC held another successful trade seminar in China – this time in Beijing. Approximately 30 people attended the event. The seminar was held as part of the 2016 China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair.

Several media and industry stakeholders attended, including the chairperson of the China Nut Roasters Association, img_5224Mrs Weng Yangyang and the Director of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, Mrs Chen Ying, who also gave a presentation. Mr Mashudu Silimela, the DAFF Counsellor at the South African Embassy in China provided the opening address for the seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the importance of reduced import tariffs with important role players and to make Chinese media and thereby consumers aware of South African macadamias.


Success in Macadamia Tissue Culture

Dr. Elsje Joubert

Macadamia integrifolia and a cross between M. integrifolia and M. tetraphylla (Beaumont) can be successfully propagated in tissue culture! A laboratory I recently visited provide great scope for the future of the macadamia industry. Various people have tried to propagate macadamia plants in tissue culture, but very little success has been achieved thus far. With more than a decade of experience in tissue culture the owner of this laboratory has found the recipe.

Growing points from high yielding macadamia trees are placed in single tubes with an agar-based growth medium. Single tubes are used to minimise the risk of contamination between plants. The medium is carefully developed and consists of different concentrations of nutrients and growth hormone. After approximately 4 weeks newly grown plants are split at the nodes and transferred into sterile vials in a laminar flow cabinet once again. The protocol continues until root development. Different propagated cultivated varieties (cultivars) can be monitored to, for example, see how fast root development occurs. Experts are currently collecting a variation of different high-yielding and good quality producing cultivars from different climatic areas, soil types and heights above sea levels for multiplication.

Tissue culture allows for new hybrid cultivars to be screened and developed for the South African macadamia industry. This process takes some time, but is much quicker than the conventional method of propagation and selection. Genetic material can be compared to that of high-end performing cultivars within a few weeks to determine if the underlying genetic traits are present in the newly selected plant material. Most importantly, each plant is cultivated in a medium completely free of pathogens. After root formation, the plants are weaned in a sterile soil-based growth medium. Selection takes place throughout the process and only the most vigorous growers with the strongest root systems are selected for. There is much scope for new clonal rootstock development here and much exciting prospects in working together with experts who earned their licence for propagating in tissue culture.


Macadamia integrifolia selection


Hybrid macadamia cultivar (Beaumont) in tissue culture


Report on Cool Logistics Conference, Bremen, Germany 26th – 28th September 2016 and visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo, Netherlands.



The following topics were deemed to be the most relevant presented and discussed at the conference –

1. Tackling the issue of Global Food Waste.

Global Food Loss Waste (FLW) is an important topic due to the extent of food that is wasted annually. It has been reported that 24% of all food totalling 1.3bn tons worth USD1trillion is wasted around the world each year. The FLW is contributing 3.3 to 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Countries around the world are implemented regulations to control food waste and to minimise the extent of the problem. There are also initiatives being looked at to ensure all eligible food can be reused instead of disposing of it.

2.  Maersk (and Safmarine) launched the Reefer Container Remote Control Management (RCM).

maersk-and-safmarine-launched-the-reefer-container-remote-control-management-rcmMaersk Lines and Safmarine are due to launch the RCM technology during the 1st quarter of 2017. The technology permits the line and/or customers to remotely monitor and manage temperature settings, temperature recordings and probe readings, power supply and location mapping. The technology will deliver live data. The technology has been rolled out over a period of 5 years and units fitted to 270,000 of Maersk and Safmarine reefer units. A web based software program has been designed to allow customers to interact with the container in order to apply these options. A short overview of the capabilities of the technology was given by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen, Head of Remote Container Management at Maersk Lines. The impression was given that Maersk will allow customers to take ownership of the cold chain when the container is assigned to when the cargo is unpacked. I asked the question how Maersk will deal with the issue of claims should customers be permitted to download sensitive temperature data from the system, in the case where it can be identified that the line or container caused a condition in which the customer incurred losses (of whatever nature this may be). Catja replied that Maersk has dealt with this specific aspect and believe that partnerships with customers in reefer management is the preferred way forward. Maersk South Africa will role out the RCM technology in the 1st quarter 2017. In discussion with Catja I referred to the recent assessment of the in-transit cold treatment containers undertaken by the Citrus Growers. I pointed out that the RCM technology will be helpful in managing the technical requirements by monitoring and maintaining the probe temperatures, and especially the DAT and Power off events. For the time being Maersk will be the only container line to offer RCM technology, but it is believed that other lines will follow in the coming years. There were a few stands at the conference in which companies were displaying various RCM technology as well as live temperature data devices capable of transmitting live temperature data to customers. It is understood that some of the lines will adopt RCM technology which will permit the live recording of the reefer units energy consumption, the energy consumption can be recorded for the duration of a shipment. In future there is the possibility that reefer charges could be based on the specific voyage energy consumption by a single unit. This type of technology will over time provide many other uses over and above what has been described. Certainly the RCM technology is a major advancement in cold chain management.

3. Reefer Containers and Energy Management at Container Terminals

Jan-Eyk Spohler from Siemens AG gave a very interesting overview of the energy demands of reefer containers through a study conducted at the container terminal in the port of Valencia, Spain. The study showed that depending on the number of units stored at container terminals, the energy demand from reefer containers can represent up to 50% of the energy consumption at container terminals. Another interesting but more serious and concerning issue is study revealed that in some cases where there are a high volume of reefers being stored at container terminals, there could be power failures incurring at the reefer banks when there are high demands. This is a result of Kw demands exceeding the available supply. Jan-Eyk suggested that terminals implement a series of power banks in the reefer yards. The purpose of this will permit terminals to manage power supply more effectively. If a power failure is incurred it will be isolated to a particular power bank and not across the entire reefer area. There was a lot of debate around this particular topic with a few notable concerns raised –

a. Are container terminals and in particular transhipment ports cutting power to reefer containers with the intention of reducing energy costs?

b. It was pointed out by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen that the RCM data has indicated notable concerns regarding power off of reefer containers at some of the major ports. Maersk are collecting data on this in order to implement corrective action at terminals that show power off trends.

c. The RCM technology will deter terminals from cutting power supply to reefers or to place better emphasis on reefer management as the power off feed will be live and monitored by Maersk. The RCM technology will permit Maersk technical department to report power off to staff positioned at terminals around the globe. Corrective action can be implemented timeously where power has been cut to a reefer container longer than 30 – 60 min or any identified criteria.

d. I pointed out that in the case of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) there was no current systematic way of identifying critical control temperature units or for a power off event to be detected systematically. The reefer yards are monitored manually be staff who often overlook power off events and particularly to manage the critical control temperature reefer units. I mentioned that Fruit SA have recently met with TPT and there will be a process of development whereby systems will be developed to manged this aspect more effectively. I pointed out that terminals across the globe need to develop systems to manage reefer containers more effectively. This is necessary to maintain cargo temperature so that control temperature shipments do not deviate from temperature protocols. In some cases cold chain disruption can also lead to product waste.
All the presentations can be obtained from the following link:

In conclusion I believe that Fruit South Africa should send a delegate to attend the Cool Logistics Global Conference each year. It is important that a presentation is given from a South African point of view and that the South African fruit sector is represented at the conference.

Visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo Netherlands

visit-to-fresh-park-venlo-venlo-netherlandsThe purpose of the visit to Fresh Park Venlo was to obtain a first-hand view of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development in operation. In South Africa the SEZ policy has been finalized with key areas identified to develop SEZ’s. The agricultural sector stands to gain by creating Agri parks in identified SEZ areas. The Agri parks can be created to offer a multitude of supporting services to the agri sector, specifically in the area of logistics. Fresh Park Venlo is a prime example of how the SEZ can be developed to support the agri sector in a specific area. This example should be replicated in South Africa. In my view agri parks should be considered for Polokwane, Gauteng and Cape Town. It is suggested that Fruit South Africa engage with the provincial governments of Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape to drive the Agri park agenda in South Africa. South African and the Netherlands should create a cooperative agreement to steer the Agri Park and SEZ development in South Africa. The Netherlands have tried and tested practice in the development of the Agri parks that South Africa can learn from. More information can be obtained from the following link:


Nursery Tree Quality the Key Focus at Recent KwaZulu-Natal Study Groups

KwaZulu-Natal SAMAC study groups were held at the North and South Coast during the second week of September with record attendance at both meetings. The theme was “nursery tree quality” with talks given on nursery tree quality, nutrition and cultivar choice. Growers on the North Coast also visited 2 local farms in Gingindlovu to learn more about the planting and management of young trees. South Coast growers visited T&T Agric Nursery to develop a better understanding of the SAMAC nursery system. A big thank you to Vitas and T&T Agric for sponsoring these days!


Successful KZN Macadamia Farmers Tour to Mpumalanga

A group of 17 macadamia farmers from the North and South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, recently enjoyed a very successful 5 day tour to Mpumalanga. Organised in conjunction with the annual SAMAC Symposium, the farmers visited a number of key growers and nurseries in the Nelspruit, Lows Creek and Barberton areas and were exposed to a variety of innovative and thought provoking techniques both with regards to farming practices and the postharvest handling of nuts. Growers were impressed by the large scale of production as well as the use of fertigation to manage tree growth. It was clear that pruning and mulching are an essential part of any macadamia farming system especially during a drought year. A big thank you to all the sponsors who made this tour possible including Farmers Agricare, Ivory Macadamias, Nseleni Nurseries, Green Farms, Syngenta, Rovic Leers and Nedbank and also to our hosts Martin de Kock, Neels and Claudia Raulstone, Danroc Farm and Nursery, Kudu Farms and Barberton Valley Plantations. We look forward to the next tour!




SAMAC’s first successful media event in Shanghai, China

First nut seminar a huge success


China’s massive macadamia market


A Big Future for small Nuts



n Onlangse besoek aan die Yunnan Provinsie in Sjina om hul groeiende industrie te ondersoek..

Die Groeiende Makadamia Neut Industrie in Sjina

Barry Christie


SAMAC het ondanks ‘n beperkte bemarkingsbegroting ‘n ongelooflike suksesvolle bemarkingsdag gehad in Shanghai, Sjina op 22 Junie 2016. Die doel van die dag was veeldoelig. Eerstens, om bewusmaking te skep van die Suid Afrikaanse makadamia neut industrie by handelaars sowel as die media, wat op sy beurt die eindverbruiker bereik. Vyftien verskeie persbeamptes het die dag bygewoon, en teen die tyd wat hierdie artikel geskryf word is daar alreeds verskeie aanlyn artikels gepubliseer oor die geleentheid. Daar is volgense aanduidings van van die handelaars en industrie rolspelers ‘n groot aanvraag vir neute van Suid Afrika. Dit was verblydend om te hoor dat handelaars neute van Suid Afrika verkies as gevolg van beter kwaliteit. Dit word blykbaar toegeskryf aan ons goeie oespraktyke (nie meganies nie) en eenvormige boorde. Die neut-in-dop uitvoer standaard, wat ook  bespreek is, was ‘n treffer. Ons is egter aangemoedig om die standaard strenger te maak om aan die markvereistes te voldoen en vir meer gemoedsrus. Maar, nietemin, dit was baie positief ontvang en dit verseker verder dat Suid Afrika as ‘n prima makadamianeut verskaffer beskou word. Die ander doel was om met belangrike rolspelers in die Sjinese industrie verhouding te bou om sodoende van ‘n ander hoek af te probeer om die invoer tariewe van Suid Afrikaanse makadamia neute te verlaag. Ek het egter ‘n derde agenda gehad op my reis na Sjina – om self te gaan ondersoek instel oor die gerugte dat die Sjinese makadamia industrie so vinnig groei.

Na aanleiding van ‘n uitnodiging van Mev Chen by die Internasionale Makadamia Simposium in Skukuza in 2015 het ek besluit om die Yunnun provinsie te gaan besoek. Mev Chen is die president van die Yunnun Makadamia Vereniging, asook die hoof uitvoerende beampte van die Yunnun Macadamia Industry Development Company. Yunnun is die area wat die meeste makadamia aanplantings het, en wat ook die vinnigste groei in terme van aanplantings. Dit was in die suid-weste van Sjina, in die Lincang omgewing tot by Nan san, wat teen die Burmese grens is. Wat baie interessant is, is dat 96% van die Yunnun provinsie uit berge bestaan. Die 4% plat gebiede word hoofsaaklik vir dorpe/stede of rys aanplantings gebruik. Uiteraard word byna alle makadamia aanplantings op heuwels of berge gedoen word, soms teen baie steil hellings. Baie van die boorde is op terrasse geplant, terwyl baie net so sonder terrasse geplant is. Dit was ooglopend dat daar baie nuwe aanplantings plaasvind. Net wat die oog kon sien was skrikwekkend baie! Natuurlik is daar lang grondpaaie wat na areas lei wat nie sigbaar is van die pad af nie, met nóg meer boorde. Gaan bestudeer gerus daardie area met Google Earth! Verder – tussen Lincang en Nansan het ons verby ten minste drie vragmotors gery wat makadamia bome vervoer het. Ek kan nie onthou dat ek in Suid Afrika al meer as een voertuig in ‘n week teëgekom het wat makadamia bome vervoer nie. Maar, kom ons kyk na die syfers…

Die Yunnun Macadamia Development Company is ‘n interessante maatskappy. Hulle is betrokke deur die hele ketting – vanaf die kweek van bome, die boerdery asook verwerking en verpakking vir die eindverbruiker. Die maatskappy besit ongeveer 700 ha se makadamia boorde en is in die proses om self meer te plant. Hulle kweek makadamia bome in drie verskillende kwekerye. Die kwekerye is enorm en werklik iets om te aanskou! Twee van die kwekerye bevat huidiglik 1 miljoen bome elk, en die derde 1.5 miljoen. Volgens Mev Chen, verkoop hulle maatskappy alleen die ekwivalent van ongeveer 5 000 ha se makadamia bome jaarliks. Dit is uitgewerk teen 300 bome per hektaar. Daar is heelwat ander kwekerye ook en boonop is daar blykbaar baie kleinboere wat hul eie bome kweek, wat kommerwekkend is in terme van boom kwaliteit. Kwekery bome word verkoop vir ongeveer 12-15 RMB, wat sowat R30 is. Volgens inligting wat by die Wêreld Neut en Droë Vrugte Kongres bekom is, verskaf die staat in Sjina ‘n subsidie van 10 RMB per boom, wat ‘n groot impak het op die tempo waarteen die industrie groei. Die kwaliteit van die kwekery bome wat waargeneem is, is aanvaarbaar, maar in vergelyking met SAMAC-geakkrediteerde kwekerye is daar nog heelwat ruimte vir verbetering in terme van boom kwaliteit en infrastruktuur. Boomgrootte varieer redelik as gevolg van die feit dat die onderstamme saailinge is. ‘Beaumont’, ‘H2’ en een of twee ander kultivars waarvan ek nie die name gekry het nie word as onderstamme gebruik. Bome se stamme was oor die algemeen dikker as ons kwekerye se stamme. Bome word gekweek in die ope lug sonder enige nette, wat waarskynlik op die einde ‘n sterker boom na vore sal bring.

Boomgrootte in boorde het ook redelik varieer. Dit is waarskynlik as gevolg van die feit dat slegs saailinge geplant word, maar ander faktore soos die seleksieproses wat dalk minder streng is, snoeipraktyke wat bykans nie bestaan nie en ook variasie in grond. Dit is duidelik dat daar binne die volgende paar jaar ‘n ernstige poging aangewend sal moet word om die Sjinese boere te leer snoei. Baie van die boere het moontlik nog nooit met bome geboer nie omdat baie van die grond wat nou oortrek is met makadamia bome tot redelik onlangs nog suikkerrietlande was. Die gemiddelde boer in Yunnun het na my mening sowat 2-5 ha se makadamias. Daar is dus duisende kleinboere om te bereik, wat ‘n hele ander dinamika in hul bedryf inbring. Volgens Mev Chen is daar reeds ten minste 66 000 ha se makadamia boorde in Sjina gevestig en dat hul bedryf met sowat 20 000 ha per jaar groei.

Daar is geen twyfel dat Sjina binnekort die wêreld se grootste produsent van makadamianeute sal wees nie. Laat my toe om bietjie te spekuleer… Huidiglik hoef dit nie ‘n groot bekommernis te wees vir ons as ‘n Suid Afrikaanse makadamia industrie nie. Alhoewel daar nie ‘n onmiddelike bereiging is nie, kan daar in die nabye toekoms ‘n oormaat neute op ons markte beland. Die goeie nuus is dat, in terme van insekskade, die Sjinese neute nie ‘n probleem het nie, aangesien hulle basies nie veel peste het nie. Dit was duidelik dat blaaspootjies nie ‘n rol speel nie, waarskynlik as gevolg van die feit dat hulle vir geen ander peste spuit nie (blaaspootjies is gewoonlik ‘n reperkussie pes as gevolg van ander pesbespuitings). Maar, net soos wat stinkbesie en neutboorder populasies ontplof het in Suid Afrika, vertel die geskiedenis en natuurwette ons dat dieselfde daar ook sal gebeur – moontlik heelwat gouer daar as hier juis oor die grootte van hul industrie. Swak kwaliteit neute op die Sjinese mark, of selfs ander markte in die wêreld kan katastrofies wees. Die onus berus dus op ons (en Australië) om generiese bemarking van makadamias te doen om die verbruikersmark in Sjina uit te brei. Die feit van die saak is dat die Sjinese reeds begin dink aan makadamias uitvoer. Ons moet dus die verbruikers daar só stimuleer en opvoed dat hulle eerstens makadamias leer ken, en tweedens meer daarvan sal eet om ten minste die Sjinese produksie te kan absorbeer. Indien Sjina grootskaals makadamias begin uitvoer sal die kernmark meer uitdagend raak.

Mev Chen en haar kollegas het uit hulle pad uit gegaan om my te onthaal. Dit is duidelk dat hulle ‘n sterker verhouding met SAMAC wil bou. Die Yunnun makadamia vereniging het reeds ‘n formele verhouding en ooreenkoms met Australië gesluit, wat ook daartoe gelei het dat die invoer tarriewe vir Australië verlaag is. Australië bied tegniese bystand deur middel van gereelde besoeke en kundige advies om die industrie in Yunnun te help met kennis, soos byvoorbeeld snoeipraktyke. Die geleentheid bestaan dus nou om iets soortgelyks te doen, alhoewel dit duidelik gestel moet word dat invoer tarriewe waarskynlik nie binnekort deur ‘n vrye handelsooreenkoms verlaag sal word nie. Alhoewel die verskeie lande wat makadamias produseer in ‘n sekere sin as kompetisie beskou word, sal dit sinneloos wees om vyandig op te tree teenoor mekaar. Ons as ‘n industrie kan eerder probeer om inspraak te maak op dinge soos kwaliteit en in daardie opsig selfs ‘n positiewe invloed op die neutgehalte hê. Mev Chen het ‘n paar keer die woorde herhaal “Ons is ‘n makadamia familie”…


New developments on pest and disease research


Stinkbug damage is worth more than R320 million annually. The good news is that SAMAC is in the process of establishing a macadamia research group at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). FABI specialises in many fields due to it being a multi-disciplinary institute, such as pathology, microbiology, genetics, entomology and more. They have made breakthrough advances in biological control of insect pests, as well as the detection of insect pheromones. We believe the research output will improve SAMAC’s service to its members.

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