Friday, July 19, 2024

Meet the brains behind Kenyan company exporting the most expensive nuts

Macadamia nuts are considered the most expensive nuts in the world owing to their high demand that is outpacing their supply.

Globally, the demand for macadamia nuts is said to be growing at around 8 percent each year.

Kenya is among the world’s leading Macadamia producers, ranking at number 3 behind Australia and South Africa, with a market share of 13 percent (7,750 tonnes) on a kernel basis.

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Over 90% of Kenya’s Macadamia are produced for export with key destinations including the US, EU, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada.

Exotic EPZ is one of the companies helping farmers export the nut to the world market. Established in 2017, the firm exports high-quality nuts to the Netherlands and parts of the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, and China.

What many people don’t know is that the company, which employs over 180 workers, is solely women-owned.


Jane Maigua the CEO and co-founder says she was inspired to pursue entrepreneurship by her mother who was a farmer and her father who worked as a bus driver.

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“I ended up in the entrepreneurship development sector working with national and international NGOs, as well as the UN on projects that supported Small and Medium Enterprises to start and grow their businesses. From this I gained a lot of knowledge and motivation to still pursue my dream of starting a business,” she told Lionesses of Africa.


After working with the UN for 25 years, she quit to actualize her entrepreneurship dream in collaboration with her business partners Charity Ndegwa and Loise Maina.

Today, the trio sources macadamia nuts in shells from smallholder farmers across the country processes them, and exports raw macadamia kernels into international markets.

“I was inspired to run an export business that would create opportunities for many people, and to inspire other women to run corporate businesses,’ she said.

The company has created employment for 187 people, both full-time and temporary workers, who assist in sourcing, processing, and exporting the nuts.

Looking ahead, Jane said they hope to expand operations to include macadamia and other specialty oils such as sesame, moringa, and baobab.

Exotic EPZ is also planning to expand into roasted nuts, which will be supplied in the domestic market, and scale up its annual production to 5,000MT.


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