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A Dream to Lift People & Nature

Our Story of Faith

In the late 1990s, Joseph often crossed the street from his oil company office in Nairobi, Kenya where he worked, to a small grocery shop to buy a sachet of roasted macadamia nuts. He loved the unique crunchiness and pleasant flavor of these special nuts.

Later, while visiting a relative near his rural home west of Nairobi with Gladys, they saw and walked through macadamia trees for the first time. Planted through a foreign aid project to this part of Kenya, the trees had started producing fruit.

 

What caught their attention was the disparity between what the farmer was being paid for one kilo of raw nuts, and what Joseph paid for a small sachet of roasted nuts. As young hobby farmers of maize in a value chain that was doing poorly, they determined they would get into the macadamia business, with a long term goal of processing and marketing their own production and pay local farmers fairly.

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So, in the year 2000, they bought the first macadamia seedlings and established a young orchard on five acres of land at Lukhuna Village. They increased it to 25 acres over the next five years. Macadamia trees have a gestation period of five years before the first widespread flowers appear in the orchard and reach maturity between ten to fifteen years. As the orchard grew, Joseph got involved in donor supported, Kenyan government activities to develop the country’s macadamia industry.

To realize their goal of establishing their own macadamia processing facility, they offered their Gigiri, Nairobi home for sale so they could raise money to import the processing machinery. Before finding a buyer, in 2007, Joseph and Gladys were suddenly called away to serve their Church as volunteer mission leaders in Nigeria for three years. In 2008, the house was sold and, and from the other side of the African continent, they helped their children buy a small apartment and receive the order for the processing machinery from Australia.

A few weeks after confirming the machinery order, Joseph and Gladys received notification from the Church reducing their mission to two years, with a new ecclesiastical assignment for Joseph to serve as a member of the Seventy until age 70. They willingly accepted the call.

 

This meant that Joseph, then age 56, would be assigned to work in any part of the world. For the next thirteen years, they lived in the United States, Accra Ghana, Johannesburg South Africa, and Nairobi Kenya, travelling widely according to the requirements of the ministry.

In the meantime, the machinery ordered from Australia arrived in 2011 and sat in a shipping container for eight years until January 2019 when it was assembled. By that time, the number of active macadamia processors in Kenya had grown from three to nearly thirty since the time of the original order. Two of their children, Martin and Deborah, became available and were fully involved in setting up the processing facility. The company Onja Uone Ltd was reactivated and they put together a team which worked through the Covid 19 shutdown to get the processing facility set up and certified to FSSC 22000 in 2021, the leading global food safety standard. 

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At that time, the pandemic was having its worst toll on global commerce and the macadamia market was in virtual shut down. Overseas buyers were not taking on new suppliers. The company Onja Uone Ltd struggled through these difficult times, supported mostly by family resources, without laying off any of its staff. Joseph and Gladys completed their mission with the Church in August 2022, and returned to personally help the company find its footing in the recovering global economy.

Pursuing the initial goal of ensuring fair and stable returns to small scale farmers who grow the product, the company, Onja Uone Ltd, pays a fair price to farmers and produces naturally organic macadamia nuts with an excellent flavor. It is currently working with a donor in a “Trees for Food” humanitarian project, supplying free macadamia seedlings to needy farmers to help lift them economically.

 

To ensure stable access to the market, Joseph and Gladys have set up the US distribution company Onja Uone LLC to bring this product to the US consumer. We invite our customers to do good to their own health by buying our macadamia nuts, and as they do so, to know that they are economically lifting the community of local farmers with each purchase. Not to mention, each purchase lends support to environmental conservation by confirming the economic value of macadamia trees.

Thank you for your consideration in purchasing the tastiest macadamias on earth.

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