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Macadamia farmers look to fruitful, rich New Year

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macadamia factory
Workers at the macadamia factory cleaning and drying the nuts. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Macadamia farmers in Nyeri, Embu and Meru counties expect a bumper harvest this year, boosted by good rains in the growing areas.

The prices are also expected to improve from the high of Sh200 a kilogramme when the season closed in September, said Charles Mwangi, a farmer in Nyeri.

“Last season was good but we expect prices to go beyond Sh200 a kilogramme next year due to increasing demand and farmers who have a good crop will have a long harvest period because of the staggered rains experienced this season,” said Mr Mwangi, who expects to harvest about 15 tonnes from 700 trees between February and June next year.

Due to growing demand, nut processors want county governments in the crop catchment areas to support ongoing efforts to double the current production by 2022 as farmers switch to the nut.

Nut Processors Association of Kenya (NutPAK) has put in place an initiative that will see the number of trees increased by one million from the current 2.5 million.

The target is to have 10 million trees by 2022, enough to double the current production.

NutPAK has already carried out 15 of the 55 planned field days in macadamia growing counties during which seedlings are being distributed and information on good crop husbandry shared.

However, the association is concerned that county governments have not created a budget to support the crop despite a huge number of farmers embracing it.

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“We expect the government to support the processors in the ongoing efforts to register farmers in the country and also carry out tree census,” Mr Charles Muigai NutPAK chief executive officer said.

With the entry of the China as a producer in the recent times, there is need for the government to offer full support to allow Kenya safeguard its market, Mr Muigai said.

Unlike in Kenya, macadamia production in China is a government-supported initiative and the country projects to produce 100,000 tonnes by 2025, according to the statistics presented at the Macadamia Symposium in China held recently in which Kenya sent a delegation.

There is danger of China eating into Kenya’s traditional market with cheaper nuts, according to NutPAK.

The ban on export of in-shell macadamia has paid huge dividends from national annual crop production of 11,000 tonnes per year in 2009 and four processors to over 45,000 tonnes and 30 processors, according to Muigai.

Anticipating increased production in the next five years, processors have created an installed processing capacity of 90,000 tonnes and are currently operating at 50 percent.

The targeted areas for production are non-traditional counties such as Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties as the next frontier of growth in line with the Big Four Agenda, Mr Nderitu said.

The demand for increasing production of nut is fuelled by attractive farm gate prices that hit the Sh200 mark a kilogramme at the close of the last season in August, which has made the crop so lucrative that there is rampant theft of nuts when they are ripe for harvesting in Central region.

Macadamia constitutes only two percent of tree nuts in the world, which makes the global market sustainable.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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