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Kiambu farmers 'go nuts' about macadamia

Coffee and tea farmers in Kiambu county have opted to diversify their farming and plunge into the lucrative macadamia farming which has proven to be a good earner.

This is after years of frustration in the annual returns of tea and coffee with macadamia promising them monthly incomes after entering into a pact with Thika-based company, Jungle Nuts Ltd.

Led by Paul Kahiga Ngaruiya, the farmers saw this new development as light at the end of the tunnel for the numerous youth in the area who were jobless.

James Waweru, a coffee farmer from Githobokoni village in Gatundu North said that  commercialisation of farming was their only hope to eradicate poverty. He recalled years of toiling and living in debts and abject poverty as a result of poor returns in coffee farming.

Speaking at Kanyoni village in Gatundu North during a farmers' education day that also saw various groups receive more than 1,000 macadamia seedlings, organic fertilizer among other items from Jungle Kilimo Foundation, the growers welcomed the initiative saying the partnership was a shot in the arm for many of them who had to wait for a year to get paid for their produce.

Founder and C.E.O of Jungle Holdings who doubles up as the Thika MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina said that the company planned to increase plantation of macadamia seedlings from 200,000 to one million.

By 2022, the company hopes to have planted 10 million seedlings through empowerment of farmers to improve macadamia production.

Wainaina said that macadamia was the only crop with a ready market and whose produce earns instantly. He urged farmers to stop buying from middlemen for more earnings as brokers have been shortchanging them.

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