CONCEIVED AND CONCEPTUALISED
BY GROWERS FOR GROWERS

The world is going nuts for macadamias and South Africa is ready to consolidate its position as a world force in the macadamia industry.

With an exponential increase in new plantings in South Africa, a consortium of growers - aptly called Global Macadamias - is constructing the world's largest macadamia processing plant in Alkmaar, Mpumalanga, to meet market needs in terms of processing capacity and marketability.

While an average of 50% of South Africa's macadamia crop has been exported as dry-nut-in-shell (DNIS) over the past nine years, mainly to the far East, China is rapidly planting its own macadamias, which could see a drop in the demand for DNIS over the short to medium term.

In September 2018, SAMAC reported that the kernel (shelled nuts) market is gaining more prominence and it is approximated that

75% of the world's macadamia production will be sold as kernel in the coming season. Sixty-seven percent of the South African crop is expected to be processed to kernel in 2019, which is 12% more than a previous estimate and also 17% higher than in 2017.

The new Alkmaar plant - with its primary focus on kernel processing - is perfectly aligned to meet industry changes and growth. The global factory is being constructed for the benefit of the industry as a whole and is expecting to take in product from all macadamia growing regions in the country. It is predicted that the South African macadamia sector will continue to grow rapidly over the next decade as new plantings come into production.

The first phase of the facility will have the capacity to process 15 000 tons and is due for completion by the end of 2019, in time for the start of the 2020 season.

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THE BIRTH OF GLOBAL MACADAMIAS

Back in 2016, a group of Mpumalanga macadamia farmers and processors realised that soon there would not be enough capacity to process South Africa's macadamia production. their solution was to join forces to establish a world-class macadamia processing facility with the capacity and marketing ability to receive, process and export a significant portion of Southern Africa's macadamia crop.

Global Macadamias was born and shareholders Agristar Macadamias, Barberton Valley Plantations, Vosmac, Kudu & Esperia Farms/Ivory Macadamias, Joubert & Seuns and Hotazel Developments brought their significant experience and

knowledge in the macadamia supply chain - from growing and processing to exporting and marketing - to craft a long-term vision to create stability within the industry.

Soon the blueprints for the world's first mega macadamia processing plant were being formulated. The shareholders believe that the plant will not only assist growers to meet current and future needs, but will also help South Africa retain its global standing in the industry by offering the latest technology from South Africa and Australia, including the best cracking, sorting and processing, thermo-dynamic drying and curing principles, bulk-handling ability and the ability to produce kernel to meet the highest quality expectations.

SITE SELECTION AND DESIGN

The location of the processing facility was of the utmost importance to Global Macadamias. It had to be close to major macadamia growing regions and have access to major transport nodes. After months of site visits and discussions, a 42ha site was selected in Alkmaar, which is in the Scagen Valley, between Nelspruit and Montrose along the N4.

Global Macadamia's Board then established a Design Committee and asked Phil Zadro, the world's biggest macadamia grower, and Roelof van Rooyen, from Agristar Macadamias, to take the lead in design and planning given their vast experience and work in the Australian and South African Construction and macadamia industries over the past 55 and 10 years respectively.

After numerous meetings, drafts and discussions, the initial building and factory blueprint was signed off. Ground was broken in early 2018 and construction commenced in September 2018.

The committee travelled to Australia in July 2018 to visit Macadamia Processing Company and Pacific Macadamias to view and discuss the processing system designs and methods used and to start finalising internal flow and processing designs. Global Macadamias' processing manager also visited Australia three months prior to this, to study systems, undertake research and start drafting processing layouts. Designs were finalised on his return and orders have been placed for the processing equipment.

LOOKING AHEAD

The company will be firmly focussed on growing the market to match the increasing crop, to ensure both short-term and long term returns to growers.

Global Macadamias has partnered with Macadamia Marketing International, the world's largest macadamia marketing entity, which sells approximately one third of the combined South African and Australian crop and about 17% of the world's crop.

With the experience, technology, capacity and contacts in place, the team behind the development

is excited that the industry's growth will ensure certainty when it comes to volumes and supply. Growers have the assurance that their crop will be accommodated at Global Macadamias and macadamia users around the world will have surety of supply, which will help stabilise prices and build the market.

The facility will adhere to the strictest and highest industry standards, minimise overheads and ensure efficiencies so that it can maximise returns to growers, no matter their crop size. Ultimately, transparency is key to the company's success.

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