Slow, steady macadamia development

14:08 | 27/06/2015 Society

(VEN) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has decided to develop macadamia nut plantations on a step-by-step basis, taking into account related production links, quality management, processing and markets in order to minimize any potential risks.

Slow, steady macadamia  development

Ensuring good quality macadamia varieties

After more than two decades of piloting macadamia plantations and three years of planning, domestic macadamia development still poses some questions. While macadamia nuts are of high economic value, they largely depend on the quality of seedlings and post-harvest and deep processing technologies.

Vietnam has had an appropriate time to develop its seed industry. The global consumption of nutritious nuts is growing, especially for the increasingly popular macadamia nuts. However, Vietnam needs to tightly control macadamia varieties in terms of quality as macadamia trees often take 40 years to provide yields while macadamia nut quality depends almost entirely on the varieties and less on processing technologies, said Chairman of the Australian Macadamia Society Jolyon Burnett.

Director of the Forest Tree Improvement and Biotechnology Research Institute (FTIBRI) Ha Huy Thinh said, “Macadamia varieties are an important element in the sector’s development. Substandard varieties produce low quality nuts in small quantities. Some localities that grew macadamia spontaneously have suffered losses.”

According to Permanent Vice President of the Vietnam Federation of Agriculture and Rural Development Association Nguyen Tri Ngoc, macadamia varieties play a decisive role in quality yields.  However, growers should consider related consumption markets and economic efficiency brought about by macadamia in comparison with other crops.

Businesses and growers should be supported

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, macadamia can be widely grown in Vietnam; however, the agricultural sector needs to thoroughly review macadamia development not only in terms of plantation, but also distribution and consumption to help macadamia businesses and growers avoid risks. Growers should be encouraged to grow macadamia in suitable areas.

It is necessary to combine international standard macadamia post-harvest and processing technologies. Macadamia nuts must be shelled within 24 hours from harvesting, put in dryers within three hours after being shelled to ensure a moisture rate less than 10 percent, and stored in special warehouses at a temperature below 160 degree Celsius. These technicalities require macadamia businesses and growers to closely cooperate with each other in terms of post-harvest preservation and processing of macadamia nuts to avoid serious mistakes that faced macadamia businesses and growers in South Africa and Kenya, who used to record higher macadamia nut yields than their Australian counterparts but only saw half the incomes due to poor post-harvest preservation and processing technologies.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has recognized 10 macadamia varieties as suited to Vietnam following a series of trials.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is currently collecting comments from experts, scientists and local authorities involved in macadamia trial plantings, and will probably issue a macadamia development plan in Vietnam by the end of the year.

Nguyen Hanh