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  • Author or Editor: David Rietow x
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The macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) was introduced to Kapulena on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii from Australia in 1881 by William Purvis. The first commercial plantation was established in Oahu but the commercial industry moved to Hawaii, the Big Island. By 1950, the largest producer was the Honakaa Sugar Company with 450 acres (182 ha). The development of new technology, including the selection of cultivars on grafted trees, resulted in an expansion of the industry. The Mauna Loa Company is now the world’s largest grower, processor, and marketer of macadamia nuts with over 10,000 acres (4047 ha). The industry now consists of ≈500 to 600 growers that are connected by ownership or contract to the two largest processor/marketers, Mauna Loa and Mac Farms. The Hawaiian macadamia industry is now relatively static. Crop area peaked in 1990 at 22,600 acres (9146 ha) and then gradually dropped to 17,000 acres (6880 ha) in 2006 where it has remained. In-shell nut production during the same period ranged from a low of 40 million pounds (18,148 t) in this past crop year (2010–11) to a high of 58 million pounds (26,315 t) in 2006–07. Competition among Hawaii, Australia, and Africa is now intense.

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