Table of Contents


See also the "Tree nuts" chapter.


1. Overview

  • Macadamia trees have similar soil and climatic requirements to avocado trees and are a suitable replacement crop for avocados. Macadamias originated in subtropical eastern Australia, Indonesia and New Caledonia.
  • Macadamia tree takes five to twelve years to produce nuts and a good tree can produce nuts for 40 years. The trees require a hot subtropical climate without much humidity. Macadamias are now widely used in the confectionery, baking, ice cream and snack food industries.
  • Macadamia oil's rich, cushiony skin feel and high oxidative stability make it especially suitable for heavy creams and sun care formulations. Medical research has shown that the consumption of macadamias may significantly lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Macadamia nuts have a sweet taste and are a super source of energy. They also contain large amounts of vitamin A and iron, as well as zinc and calcium.
  • Raw macadamias have been awarded the South African heart mark as an approved part of the Heart and Stroke Foundation healthy eating plan. They can be eaten raw or roasted.
Source: the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) website, and the DAFF publication A Profile of the South African Macadamia Nut Market Value Chain (see heading 7). 


2. International business environment

  • South Africa competes with Australia as the largest producer of macadamia nuts.
  • The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) works closely with other African macadamia producing countries like Kenya and Malawi, also major macadamia producers, and Zimbabwe. Macadamia nuts are also grown in Brazil, United States of America (especially Hawaii), Israel, China, Swaziland, New Zealand, Colombia and Guatemala.
  • The forecast for 2018 is estimated at 211 101 metric tons worldwide - the highest ever global supply (NIC, 2018).
  • SAMAC is a member of the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC). Visit

Other websites of relevance:

South Africa: imports and exports

A Profile of the South African Macadamia Nut Market Value Chain (see heading 7) takes a close look at macadamia nut exports and imports.

The two major export markets are North America and the Far East, especially China … Other export destinations are Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South America. The Middle East and South American nations such as Brazil are good markets for growth

Source: ABSA Agricultural Outlook 2017, page 57