Macadamia is not only known to be the most nutritious nut but a good reforestation material as well. Its nut has up to 80 percent natural oil and 4 percent sugar that is highly in demand among dieters because of the health benefits that can be derived in reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
In the Philippines, macadamia trees have been found grown at Eden Nature Park, an ecotourism destination in Toril, Davao City and some other parts of Mindanao.
To cater for an impending demand of Macadamia seedlings, MacNut Philippines with its president and CEO, Jorge Disuanco has successfully established a macadamia nursery in Tarlac, and has initially propagated about 600,000 seedlings of macadamia trees.
Disuanco, a Filipino who has been in Hawaii, noticed how macadamia nuts just fall on the ground in Hawaii parks and thought of introducing the right variety to be grown in the Philippines to help improve the country’s economy and the well being of his fellow countrymen.
By planting the grafted material, it will start to bear fruit in three years time and it will continue to bear fruit for a lifetime. The fruits from the macadamia tree can sustain farmers for life and need not to be harvested because it will just fall off from the tree when already ripe.
Macadamia trees are ideal for propagation in a typhoon free region and they preferred to be sheltered from damaging gusty winds and thrive in warm climate conditions. The world’s largest area for macadamia used to be Hawaii but it is now vastly grown and considered now as the biggest is Australia since 1997.
The demand for macadamia nut worldwide is high and with the low production cost in any typhoon free region in the Philippines, it can be a very viable export business for the country.
Macadamia nuts are in demand in the food industry especially in the production of chocolates, gourmet biscuits, ice cream and snack products. While the initial capital needed to start a macadamia orchard is substantial, the maintenance cost is comparatively low, according to Disuanco.
A macadamia tree seedling costs Php 1,000 pesos (US $23 dollars) each, with 300 trees in a hectare, the seedlings alone can cost you around Php 300,000 pesos (US $7,000 dollars).
An entrepreneur can start setting up a macadamia nut orchard without a watering system for Php 420,000 pesos (US 9,800 dollars). However, if it wants to establish a watering system to ensure the survival of the trees then the capitalization can go as high as Php 1 million pesos (US $23,300 dollars)
MacNut has estimated the yearly gross income of 1 hectare of macadamia orchard to be around Php 2.04 million pesos (US $47,442 dollars) , granting that each of the 300 trees can produce 34 kilos at Php 200 pesos (US $4.70 dollars) per kilo.