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Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura

versão impressa ISSN 0100-2945versão On-line ISSN 1806-9967

Rev. Bras. Frutic. v.29 n.3 Jaboticabal  2007 

The culture of Macadamia nut



The macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) it is an arboreal plant of subtropical climate, belonging to the botanical family Proteaceae. It is original from the provinces of New South Wales and Queensland, in Australia, where it is found at natural forests. The name macadamia was given in homage to John MacAdam that characterized several species of plants in the Australian continent. In spite of the Australian origin, the macadamia nut had larger technological development in Hawaii, where his creation of the main varieties and clones were planted in the world.

In Brazil this culture is still little known, probably for the high value of the product and or for the fact of the culture is almost destined exclusively for exportation. Its fruit is a follicle, composed by three main parts: carpel (exocarp and mesocarp), shell (endocarp) and almond (seed and embryo). The almond is the principal commercial product, which presents refined flavor and enough appreciation at the international market. It is consumed raw, toast or in the preparation of fine chocolates. The broken almonds during the processing or those of inferior quality are used for extraction of oil of excellent quality, used mainly in the production of cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.

The first report of planting this species in Brazil was in 1931, with the introduction of some coming plants of American nurseries in the Cintra Farm, in Limeira, state of São Paulo. About 1950, the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) began the first studies with the culture in our country, and later, it had developed technological bases to give support to the commercial production, that had started from the decade of 80. However, the commercial cultivation was modest and only next to the end of the decade of 90, with the economical stabilization; the culture consolidated and is presenting growth perspectives.

Now, is considered an area of approximately 6,000 ha planting, with annual production of 3,200 tons of nuts in shell, and the principal States producers are: São Paulo (33%), Espírito Santo (31%) and Bahia (18%). Comparing the national productivity with the planted area, it is observed a low medium productivity, 533 Kg nut in shell/ha, this value is very low when compared with potential species. However, it should be considered that a lot of these plantations are young, which didn't still reach the full production, which will begin to happen from the twelfth year. This elevated juvenile period is one of the principal obstacles of the culture, being reflected in the high period of returning of the capital invested in the formation of the orchard.

In the last years, this fruit has been considered as an alternative investment or a source of diversification of income in the property. This, in function of the external market presents growing demand for the product and for the fact of the Brazilian industry and exporters are consolidated in this market. Besides, there is an immense unexplored internal market that can be an increment factor in the national agro business.


Leonardo Duarte Pimentel
Agronomy Engineer, MSc. Plant Science
Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa -MG, Brazil

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