LINCANG (Xinhua) – The world’s biggest plantation of macadamias is not found in Hawaii or Australia but stretches across the mountains surrounding Lincang, on China’s southwestern border with Myanmar.
Native to Australia, the nicknamed ‘King of Nuts’ has become a true ‘cash tree’ for the local farmers in their pursuit of ecological, sustainable development, said experts attending a recent international meeting here.
With a total plantation of 151,333 hectares, Lincang, in Yunnan Province, has set a world record for the largest macadamia planting area, announced Yang Haodong, secretary of the local Party committee, at the 8th International Macadamia Symposium held last week.
The Chinese farmers expect to widen cooperation and trade with their foreign partners in branding and promoting ‘Lincang Nuts’ worldwide, he said.
Macadamia, known as one of the most valuable tree nuts for its unique creamy taste and rich nutrients such as monounsaturated fats, are seeds of an evergreen tree genus of the Proteaceae family native to Australia.
In the early 20th century, large-scale commercial plantations of macadamia began in Hawaii, and expanded to the west coast of the United States, central and southern Africa, central America and Southeast Asia.
In 1991, 404 macadamia seedlings were introduced to Lincang, where they thrived given the similarity between the local climate, soil and water conditions and those in their native Australian rainforest.
As of 2017, the macadamia planting area in China had grown to 2.8 million mu (186,700 hectares), accounting for 62 percent of the world’s total of 4.6 million mu (306,700 hectares), and 93 percent is in Yunnan, said Ren Zhizhong, director of the Provincial Forestry Department.
In 2017, Yunnan’s 336,700 mu (22,447 hectares) of yielding macadamia trees produced nearly 1 billion yuan in output value.
“Macadamia has become a ‘cash tree’ and a ‘green bank’ for farmers in tropical and subtropical mountainous areas of Yunnan,” he said.