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Kenya macadamia nut exports are on the rise. The U.S. is buying

Published on July 18, 2018

In 2017, Kenya’s macadamia nut industry grew by 19 percent. The value of Kenya’s export of macadamia nuts to the U.S. grew by 39 percent. The USAID Hub’s Specialty Food Advisor thinks Kenya will replicate or exceed this growth in 2018. He’s been introducing Kenya macadamia sellers to U.S. buyers through trade shows and buyers missions. His effort combined with Kenya’s commitment to improved quality production is yielding results.

The value of Kenya’s macadamia nut exports to the U.S. has been on a steady rise since 2000, the year the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) came into effect.  AGOA is a trade program that helps establish stronger commercial ties between the U.S. and eligible sub-Saharan Africa countries by reducing tariffs on select goods. Macadamia nuts is one of 6,500 products that qualify for duty-free access to the U.S. under AGOA.  

Macadamia nuts are also a “specialty food,” which the USAID Hub defines as high-value, low-volume product that combines some of the following qualities; uniqueness, origin, health or restorative properties, processing method, design, limited supply, unusual application or use, extraordinary packaging, or channel of distribution/sale. The Hub focuses its technical assistance and market linkage support on specialty foods because of U.S. demand and because specialty foods tend to offer higher margins to sellers.

The specialty foods market in the U.S. reached $80 billion in total sales last year (2017) and is growing at three or four times the rate of standard grocery store product (6-8% annually for the past ten years).

If East African specialty food sellers can show good manufacturing practices, a robust value chain, a unique product, and strong customer service, the U.S. market offers high-sales opportunities – and both buyers and sellers gain.

Why source macadamia nuts from Kenya? Watch our video.