At first glance, the nuts almost look like limes. This is because they are covered by a green protective skin - the outer shell. Underneath, the inner brown shell is revealed. Only when this has been cracked does the actual kernel reveal itself: the macadamia nut.
At LIMBUA, only the high-quality macadamia species Integrifolia is cultivated.
The smallholders remove the green shells on their farms and use them as animal feed, fertilizer or compost. The inner, brown shell, however, is about three millimeters thick and extremely hard. To open it gently, we have developed our own handcracking technologies.
This allows us to crack the nuts directly in our on-site factories, one by one and without damaging the precious kernel. The remaining outer shells contribute to soil fertility as mulch or replace valuable wood in the oven - which we take advantage of in the nut drying process.
The macadamia is considered one of the healthiest nuts in the world - for good reason! Because: it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, contains fiber and stands out due to a wide range of vitamins, minerals as well as trace elements. These include, for example:
Selenium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins.
With their nutrient content, macadamia nuts stimulate digestion, support metabolism and strengthen muscles and nerves. In short, they are an enrichment for every diet and are therefore also recommended by many nutritionists.
Around 75% fat gives the macadamia nut a deliciously buttery aroma and a tender consistency that almost melts in your mouth. Also slightly sweet and mild, its taste cannot be compared to any other nut. This is probably the reason why they are mainly consumed pure - roasted and salted, as well as completely unprocessed, macadamia are a pleasure to enjoy. In addition, the nuts can be used for all kinds of sweet or baked goods. Pressed into oil, they refine cold and hot dishes.
Macadamia oil is also used in cosmetic products - for example, to make skin and hair vital and soft.
Macadamia nuts grow on amazing trees: these stretch up to 15 meters in height and form long, thick leaves. In this way, they become both a source of shade and protection against evaporation. The roots, in turn, bind water and prevent erosion - a benefit for the entire ecosystem.
However, it takes about 5 years before the first harvest is due. Once the nuts have ripened, they fall to the ground. Some growers then collect them with special machines. At LIMBUA, however, we prefer the kind of care that only manual labor can provide.
HOW OUR MACADAMIA NUTS ARE GROWN
LIMBUA works exclusively with Kenyan smallholder farmers at the base of Mount Kenya - a particularly fertile region, due to its local climate and volcanic soils that produces high-quality harvests. Careful cultivation also contributes to this. From the beginning this is done in organic farming.
Many farmers have only switched to organic farming through their cooperation with LIMBUA. Knowledge about the dangers of chemical pesticides has not been widely spread before. In addition to organic cultivation, mixed cultivation plays an important role: amongst many other plant species, avocado trees grow between the macadamias. This preserves the fertility of the soil - and thus the livelihood of the farmers. In addition, mixed farms produce higher yields and contribute to a healthy ecosystem overall.
Abundant harvests mean a secure source of income for our smallholder farmers. That is why LIMBUA - together with leading scientists - has developed particularly high-yielding macadamia seedlings. These grow in our Kenyan nurseries and are then given to the smallholders. More than 150,000 of these organic seedlings are now thriving on the mixed farms.
In addition, we offer our project partners regular training courses. Here, local agricultural engineers impart valuable knowledge on the topics of cultivation, harvesting and processing. With success: the training increases the quality and quantity of the harvested macadamia nuts year on year.
Since LIMBUA was founded, our goal has been to build a healthy partnership between Europe and Africa. Not only end consumers should benefit - but also Kenyan farmers. This approach is clearly reflected in the cultivation and processing of our organic macadamias - and makes our production processes unique.
Our macadamia nuts go through several production steps. Thanks to digital technologies, these remain transparent throughout the entire supply and production chain: It is always possible to trace which batch comes from which farmer - starting at the farm all the way to the logistics center.
This not only increases quality, but also customer satisfaction - after all, 70 percent of consumers today want to know where their products come from and how they were processed. At LIMBUA, it only takes a few clicks to view this information.
In LIMBUA's four factories, most of the production steps are done by hand. In this way we achieve a very high quality. In addition, manual processes create valuable jobs in the countryside. It also prevents families from being torn apart by people migrating to the cities - where a life in slums often awaits them.
After all, it is usually family members of our smallholders who work in the factories and receive above-average wages, including contributions to health, nursing care and pension insurance.
From harvesting to packaging, our macadamia nuts undergo constant quality controls to ensure the highest possible product safety. This is also ensured by the short transport routes between the fields and factories.
In this way, we ensure that we process truly fresh nuts, which in turn increases product safety.
In addition, sustainable organic cultivation, gentle production processes and our nurseries, which produce grafted seedlings, all contribute to quality.