The South African macadamia industry has for the past number of years experienced a phenomenal growth period. Information published in the May/June 2002 edition of "In a Nutshell", the official newsletter of the Southern African Macadamia Growers' Association (SAMAC), indicated that the production increased from 3500 tons DIS (dry in shell) during 1996 to 10 439 tons DIS in the year 2002 (In a Nutshell, Feb. 2003). Sound kernel delivered during 2002 was 2878 tons and indications are that this will increase to 5000 tons in 2005.
Another statistic that indicates towards the rapid growth of the industry is the number of trees planted. The August 2000 "In a Nutshell" presents statistics that put the South African macadamia tree numbers at 2 million, of which 50 % were between naught and four years old at that stage. Given the fact that many of these trees must still come into full production, the phenomenal growth that is taking place cannot be denied.
This rapid expansion could be a cause for concern as expansion often goes hand-in-hand with exploitation of the basic resources such as soil and water. Both soil fertility and water is a basic but scarce asset of the commercial farmer and should be managed in a sustainable manner. Expansion also creates the added problem that many of the new entrants do not have the necessary background of knowledge to make a success of their venture.
This revised Macadamia handbook therefore aims at addressing above-mentioned issues. It is a simplified and comprehensive guide that promotes production practices in a responsible and sustainable manner and that will assist and give guidance to new entrants into macadamia farming. However, experienced growers will also find this edition useful as the existing body of knowledge has expanded rapidly since the publishing of the first booklet on macadamia by the ARC-Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops.
The intention of this revised Macadamia handbook is to present a comprehensive view of all the production phases of the industry. The aim of the book is also to reach a broad spectrum of readers, not only the growers and their farm managers and advisors, but also agricultural students, technicians and researchers as well as the general public interested in farming matters. An effort has therefore been made to present the material in a reader friendly manner without neglecting the scientific principles on which various practices are based.
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