The Wattle Company branches into macadamia nuts 

Source: The Wattle Company branches into macadamia nuts | The Herald

The Wattle Company branches into macadamia nuts
The Wattle Company is looking to cut down on the production of the wattle mimosa tree from 12 000 hectares to 6 000 hectares to accommodate macadamia nuts.

Michael TomeBusiness Reporter

THE Wattle Company says it will be diversifying into production of macadamia nuts, broadening its operations from predominant mimosa tree production as demand for wattle extract, one the timber firm’s key products, continues to weaken on the global market.

Wattle extract, which is produced in solid and powder form for leather tannin, has seen reduced demand lately, prompting the company to diversify into macadamia nuts, which have strong demand on global markets and have proved to be a high return investment.

Over the five years to 2022, the Leather Tanning and Finishing industry has seen a dip as a result of falling downstream demand and unfavorable commodity prices, which has negatively impacted the demand for wattle extract.

As such, The Wattle Company is looking to cut down the production of the wattle mimosa tree from 12 000 hectares to six thousand hectares to accommodate macadamia nuts production.

Large-scale firms like Ariston, Tanganda, Buzi Tea Company, and Makandi have already ventured into the production of macadamia nuts as part of a strategy to diversify operations.

The company stressed it was diversifying into Macadamia nuts to cushion it from the diminishing fortunes in the timber industry.

In an interview The Wattle Company general manager (marketing and retail operations), Dr Sam Gwatura told The Herald Finance and Business that the waning demand for the wattle extract had led the company to broaden its horizons.

“We are looking at diversification, we normally sale the wattle extract to India and Pakistan, but leather products are getting less(demand)  at the moment and the takers of this product are slowing down, therefore we are slowing down on mimosa tree, we are now doing half of 12 000 hectares we used to do, and the other 6000 hectares we are putting macadamia,” Dr Gwatura.

The Wattle Company Limited is the only wattle extract producer in Zimbabwe with a capacity to produce 6000 tonnes per annum while exporting 99 percent of its produce to Asia while the remainder is sold locally.

On the other hand, he said the company was facing a booming timber business locally as demand for roofing timber continues to outstrip supply, a position that has led the company to halt timber exports.

“We have stopped timber exports to Botswana and South Africa because the local market demand for trusses and timber is currently high, due to surging individual home construction, so we are not able to export because the law says we should serve the local market first,” he said.

Amidst all these developments he bemoaned the invasion of the Vumba estate by some villagers which increased the risk of fire on the plantations. The Wattle Company runs the Nyanga pine division, Vumba timbers division, and the Wattle Mimosa division.

The Vumba timbers division focuses on forestry management and production of transmission poles, telephone poles, fencing poles, and droppers which are treated with creosote and are marketed and sold throughout the SADC region and as far north as Kenya to different customers in their specific requirements.