Cashew Value Chain

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Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) Production


Anacardium occidentale, the cashew, is an evergreen tree in the Anacardiaceae (cashew or sumac family) that originated in Central and South America and is now cultivated commercially in semi-arid tropical areas in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and southeastern Asia for the production of cashew nuts. The tree, which is up to 12 meters (40 feet) tall, has leathery alternate leaves, and flowers with 5 petals and 5 sepals. The fruits take an unusual form, with a kidney-shaped nut (drupe) borne on the end of an receptacle (the stem that holds the flower and fruit), which becomes enlarged and fleshy so that it appears as a fruit (with the nut like a comma dangling at its end), and is referred to as a “cashew apple.”

The cashew apple is edible, with an astringent flavor, and is used in jams, jellies, chutneys, and beverages (including a cashew wine); it is a good source of vitamin A and contains up to five times as much vitamin C as citrus juice. Cashew apples are also used as animal fodder. Cashew nuts, which are important in the cuisine of India, are often roasted and salted and eaten as a snack, and are high in protein, vitamins (A, D, K, and E) and minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, and iron). Other products from the plant include cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), which is an irritant to human skin (it causes blisters similar to those of poison ivy, Toxcicodendron radicans, which is in the same genus) but is used as a lubricant and insecticide; and acajou gum, from the plant’s stem, which can be used as a substitute for gum arabic or in similar applications, such as varnish.

Total 2010 world production of cashew nuts was 3.6 million tons, harvested from 4.4 million hectares. India was long the leading producer of cashew nuts. However, Nigeria was the largest producer in 2001, and Vietnam’s production surpassed them both in 2002; Vietnam has been the leading producer since. Brazil is the leading producer of commercially sold cashew apples.

Land Preparation

Cashew which is a native of Brazil was introduced during the latter half of the 16th Century for the purpose of afforestation and soil conservation in India. Cashew cultivation is taken up in small and marginal holdings and as more than 70% of the cashew area is under this category, cashew plays an important role in the development of small and marginal farmers.

Land with good drainage and devoid of sub-surface hard rock or hard pan, is successful for cultivation of cashew. In case of agricultural lands, it should be ploughed and leveled. For forest lands, after clearing and burning of debris, the land should be terraced or bunds constructed in sloppy land. Pits of 1 m3 are to be dug and allowed to wither.

Climatic and Soil Requirement


There is a general concept that “cashew is very modest in its soil requirements and can adapt itself to varying soil conditions without impairing productivity”. However, cashew grows well on good soils than on degraded soils. The best soils for cashew are deep, friable well drained sandy loams without a hard pan. Cashew can also grow on pure sandy soils even though mineral deficiencies are more likely to occur.


Cashew is a tropical plant therefore areas where temperatures ranges from 20 to 30 degree Celsius with an annual precipitation of 1000 – 2000 mm are ideal for its growth and development. A climate with a well defined dry season of at least four months to produce the best yields is required. Coincidence of excessive rainfall and high relative humidity with flowering may result in flower/fruit drop and heavy incidence of fungal disease though the trees may grow and some times set fruit. The young cashew plants are sensitive to frost.


Several varieties have been released by the different co-ordinating centres of ICAR. Also, research programmes in the field of crop improvement have identified best materials with yield potential ranging between 20-25 kg per tree.  Bud wood bank with the released varieties of respective centres, for further multiplication and distribution have been established by all Agricultural Universities and Research Centres. Some important varieties are:

BPP-1: High percentage of perfect flower, 13.2%, fruit set high, yield 17 kg (25-year-old plant) per plant, shelling, 27.5% nuts of 5g average weight.

BPP-2: Yield 19 kg/tree (25 years), shelling 26%, nuts 4g average.

BPP-3,4,5: are also other good varieties.

Vengurla-1: Average yield 23 kg/plant at 28 year’s age, nut weight 6g, shelling 31%.

Vengurla-2: Yield 24 kg/plant at 20 year’s age, nut weight 4 g, shelling 32%.

Vengurla-3: Nut weight 9 g.

Vengurla-4,5, VRI-1,2, Ullal-1,2, Anakkayam-1, BLA 39-4, K-22-1, NDR 2-1.

K-22-1 and NDR 2-1 are good export varieties.


Planting material

Cashew is a cross pollinated crop and Cashew exhibits wide variations in respect of nut, apple and yield of seedling progenies. Therefore, vegetative propagation has been advocated to mitigate this problem. Other methods of propagation such as budding and grafting have been found successful. Number of Adequate thrust has been given to produce enough planting materials through these standardised techniques of propagation, by the ICAR (through the National Research Centre for Cashew, its sub-stations, Agricultural Universities and State Departments of Horticulture/Agriculture), to meet the growing demand.

Layout and Planting

The preferably layout for planting cashew trees is to plant by the equilateral triangular system, especially on the slopes, as this accommodates 15% more plants without affecting the growth and development of the trees. In undulating areas they are preferably planted along the contours, with cradle pits or trenches provided at requisite spacing in a staggered manner to arrest soil erosion and help moisture conservation. The general plant spacing for cashew is 7 to 9 meters usually by the square system. It is desirable to dig the pits well in advance and allow sufficient time for withering. Burning of the debris and forest wastes inside the pits before planting is advantageous. Also, it is essential to provide stakes and temporary shade with the locally available materials wherever necessary (especially in the South West aspects in case of forest plantation) to reduce the mortality rate and achieve quicker establishment.

The grafted plants obtained from the superior mother plant are usually planted after filling the pits (1 m3 size) with top soil and Farm Yard Manure at the onset of monsoon.  If the monsoon rains are inadequate, one or two pot waterings can be done during the initial stages to ensure establishment. Mulching with black polythene is beneficial to increase the growth and yield of cashew.


The nutritional requirements of cashew are shown on the table below:

Nutrient Grams per tree per year

1 Year


2 Years


3 Years and after

N 170 340 500
P2O5 45 85 125
K2O 45 85 125


Fertilizer application should be done in a circular trench of 25 cm broad and 15 cm depth at 1.5m from the tree trunk for areas with sandy and laterite soils, soils of sloppy land and in heavy rainfall zones. Also in red loamy soils in low rainfall zones, circular band application in an area of 1.5 m width between 1.5m and 3.0m from the trunk, and incorporation in to the soil should be practised. The fertilizer should be applied in two split doses in pre and post-monsoon period. However, if single application is to be done, it should be in post-monsoon season where adequate soil moisture is available.

Management Practices


Slashing weeds with the advancement of dry season is hardly beneficial. Like wise deep digging during or just at the end of monsoon is detrimental, as it may lead to soil erosion especially in sloppy lands or formation of hard pan after the monsoon is over. Therefore timings of weeding are very important to minimise cost. Weeding with a light digging should preferably be done before the end of rainy reason. Hoeing, cutting the weeds off underground is more effective than slashing. Chemical weeding may be considered as an alternative, where labour is insufficient.


Inter crops which can replace weeds and as such would not compete for light, moisture, nutrients and can be harvested very early in the dry season or at the end of rainy season may be taken up. Leguminous crops such as groundnuts and beans are very suitable for inter cropping.   Inter cropping is usually recommended owing to the long pre-bearing period and low income in the early period of bearing and fluctuations in the yield and price from year to year. It is not advisable to inter crop with tall growing crops like maize, sorghum and millet between young cashew, as they provide too much shade.

Pest and Diseases Management

Pests and Diseases

30 species of insects have been observed to infest on cashew. Out of these, tea mosquito, flower thrips and stem and root borer and fruit and nut borer are the major pests, which are reported to cause around 30% loss to the yield.

Tea Mosquito (Helopeltis spp.)

During the beginning of the rainy season when the cashew tree is full of new fllush, tea mosquito population builds up. The nymphs and the adults suck sap on the tender leaves, shoots and inflorescence and even young nuts and apples. Severe attack on the young shoots cause dieback. Attacked inflorescence usually can be recognised from a distance by their scorched appearance.  Also, saliva of the insect can be very toxic as it could cause blistering at the site of infestation.

  • control

Tea mosquito can be controlled by spraying carboryl 0.1. % or phosalone 0.07% or endosulfan 0.05% or dimethoate 0.05%. Spraying should be done thrice, first at the time of flushing, second at early flowering and third given at the time of fruit set.


These thrips are more active during the dry season. Both nymphs and adults suck and scrape at the underside of the leaves, mainly along main veins, causing yellowish patches, latter turning grey, giving the leaves a silvery appearance.

  • control

0.05% monocrotophos or 0.1% carbaryl are very effective for controlling thrips.

Stem and Root Borers

The young white grubs bore into the fresh tissues of the bark of the trunk and roots and feed on the subsequent subepidermal tissues and make tunnels in irregular directions. Due to severe damage to the vascular tissue the sap flow is arrested and the stem is weakened. The characteristics symptoms of damage include the presence of small holes, in the collar region, gummosis, yellowing and shedding of the leaves and drying of the twigs.

  • control

Complete control of this pest once the plant is infested is very difficult. However, prophylactic measures for its control can be adopted with 0.1% BHC swabbing twice a year, once in April-May and the second application during November.

Fruit and nut Borers

This pest causes deformity and loss of kernel weight as the young caterpillar bores through the apple and nut.

  • control

Spraying of endosulfan at 0.07% or monocrotophos 0.05% concentration at flowering and fruit setting is recommended.


Except for the powdery mildew caused by a fungus, which affects the young twigs and inflorescences and make it wither, cashew crop does not have any serious disease problem.  This fungal disease appears when the weather becomes cloudy and can be controlled by dusting with 2% sulphur W.P.


Harvesting and Postharvest Handling


Fruit are usually harvested before it falls naturally if the apples are to be used for making jam, juice, syrup, fenni, etc. However, if harvesting for the nuts alone, fruits can be allowed to fall off naturally to the ground after manuring, then the nuts are reaped off.. ormally harvesting consists of reaping the nuts that have dropped to the ground after maturing. However, , the Plantations of unknown origin or seeding progenies with conventional methods of cultivation yield less than one kg of raw nuts per tree. With the use of the best planting material coupled with a package of improved agronomic practices, a yield of 8-10 kg per tree could be achieved.


The processing of cashew involves the following steps:

– Preliminary cleaning: manual picking of large objects and by sieving.

– Roasting: cleaned cashew nut is roasted in open pan or earthen ware or rotary cylinder or hot oil bath.

– Shelling and separation: after roasting, the shells are removed and the nuts extracted manually. In manual shelling, recovery of whole kernels is more compared to the mechanical shelling.

– Drying: the kernels are dried in hot air chambers.

– Peeling: drying the kernels facilitates peeling of the outer coating.

To prevent breakage, the kernels are to be handled very carefully, as they are brittle at this stage. The shelling percentage of cashew varies from 20-25.



This is done for export purposes based on “counts” or number of kernels per lb. Sound kernels are named as “wholes” and broken ones as “splits”. The wholes are again classified as whole white kernels, whole scorched kernels, whole dessert kernels (a) and whole dessert kernels (b). The splits are also further graded into white pieces, scorched pieces, dessert pieces (a) and dessert pieces (b) based on certain physical characters. The wholes are packed in several grades viz., 210, 2401, 280, 320, 400, 459 and 500; the popular grade is 320. The specifications for graded kernels are that they should be fully developed, ivory white in colour and should be free from insect damage and black and brown spots. Packing is done in time by Vita pack method (exhausting the air inside the packing tin, pumping in carbon dioxide and sealing).



Marketing of cashew is not a problem in view of the fact that our raw material production is considerably low when compared to the processing capacity of our existing factories.


Cashew Value Chain

Cashew nuts are classed as follows:


Cashew apple
The cashew apple, at up to 9 cm in length, is the pear-shaped, swollen, soft, shiny yellow or red, fleshy stem of the cashew nut proper. The cashew apple itself is not suitable for transport and storage.
The cashew nut
The cashew nut is a stone fruit, which grows out of the bottom of the cashew apple, is approx. 2 – 2.5 cm long, kidney-shaped, yellowish-reddish in color and has a hard shell with a single kernel with a delicate aroma. It is removed from the cashew apple after harvesting and sun- or hot air-dried, the shell then becoming detached to reveal the kernel proper.
The cashew kernel
This is surrounded by a fine, brown seed coat, which contains antioxidants which protect the kernel from penetration by atmospheric oxygen so preventing it from becoming rancid (oxidative rancidity).

Cashew nuts are also known as anacardium nuts.

Oil content: 45 – 50%


Commercial cashew plantations started in Nigeria in the early 1950s with the establishment of first commercial plantations at Oghe, Oji and Mbala by the defunct Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) and Iwo, Eruwa and Upper Ogun by the defunct Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC).

From these locations, the planting of the crop spread to other parts of Nigeria particularly the Central and Northern States of Nigeria. Research on cashew production and its uses started at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan in 1971.

The introduction of Brazilian cashew biotype with improved and desirable nut and kernel quality characteristics by CRIN has further increased the crops spread and popularity in Nigeria.



Cashew is national crop and is grown in 19 states;

Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Niger, Nassarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Taraba and Kwara.

However, cashew can be grown in almost all the states of Nigeria. The Nation curently produces 120,000 tons of Cashew Nut annually and has capacity for much more.


The commodity of commercial importance is the nut, which contains 47% fat, 21% protein and 22% carbohydrate.

It also contains vitamins, especially thiamine. Cashew nut proteins are complete, having all the essential amino acids and a kilogramme of the nut yields about 6000 calories compared to 3600 calories from cereals, 1800 calories from meat and 650 calories from fresh citrus fruit.

Because of these qualities, the nuts are in great demand and at Foraminifera Market Research we seek to expose the investment opportunity available in the export of the commodity through this report.

Worldwide, trade in cashews exceeds US$2 billion and demand is increasing. Of the total world supply, 110 000 tonnes are traded on international markets. There is great investment opportunity for the processing and export of the commodity in Nigeria.

There is an urgent need for the injection of more funds by the Government into the Nigerian cashew processing sector in order to add value to the products such that processed kernels are exported. The Nigerian cashew nuts are of high quality and its processed kernels have wide acceptability in European and American markets.

The return on investment on the export of raw cashew nuts is estimated between 10%- 15%.



Cashew Exporters

To get list of cashew exporters visit


Cashew Nut Process Equipments


Cashew Cooking System


Boiler & Cooker

All Capacities 30, 60,160,320, 500, 1000 kgs and any other higher capacity Projects as per customer requirement can be executed on Turnkey Basis.


Cashew Shell Cutting


Automatic Cashew Shell Cutting Machine

  • Gross weight – 110 Kg
  • Voltage Rating – 240 V (Single Phase)
  • Motor Power – 0.5 HP
  • Loading on feeding cutter – 15 Kg
  • Production rate – 20 Kg/ Hr
  • All Parts in MS

Cashew Drying System


Tray Dryer
Number of Trays for various capacities:

  • 12 Trays Drier
  • 24 Trays Drier
  • 48 Trays Drier
  • 96 Trays Drier
  • 192 Trays Drier
  • All Parts in MS

and any other higher capacity Projects as per customer requirement can be executed on Turnkey Basis.

Cashew Humidifier


Humidifier (Heavy Duty)
Swivelling type humidifier with 0.75H. P. 2800 RPM with 3phase motor & gear box




Cashew Kernel Peeling Machine

Cashew Kernel Peeling Machine

Cashew Nut Peeling Machine:

  • Capacity – 80 Kg/Hr
  • Material – Internal made by Stainless steel
  • Air Compressor required– 15 HP
  • Air Pressure – 6.5 to 7.5 Kg/Cm2



Cashew Kernel Dust Cleaner

Cashew Kernel Dust Cleaner

Dust Collector:

  • Ms Body
  • ½ Hp Motor, Single phase
  • Dust Collector – To remove fine powder after peeling



Cashew Kernel Grading Machine

Cashew Kernel Grading Machine


Cashew Kernel Grading Machine

  • Gradation capacity :100 kg per hour
  • Power consumption: Single phase A/C 102 Watts
  • Number of Grading: SIX (6)


Cashew Kernel Separator

Cashew Kernel Separator


Cashew Kernel Separator

  • Gross weight – 100 Kg
  • Voltage Rating – 415 V (Three Phase)
  • Motor Power – 0.25 HP
  • Production rate – 300 Kg/ Hr
  • All Parts in SS


Cashew Kernel Separator1

Cashew Tin Filling Machine
We supply Tin filling machine for tin filling of cashew kernels
vacuum Filing Machine.

Cashew Tin Filling Machine


Vita Packing Machine:

Co2 / Nitrogen filling
Vita packing machine with vacuum pump with Motor bell jar assembly, gauges, values and necessary fitting. Complete unit made of MS angle frame and painted.
Pouch Packing Machine


Pouch Packing Machine


Cashew Peeling and Grading Tables

Cashew Peeling and Grading Tables

Cashew Kernel Coating Pan
Cashew Kernel Coating Pan


Oil Expeller


Oil Expeller

are successfully catering the varying needs of our clients. We are known for delivery efficient Oil Expellers low cost. Oil Expellers very useful to crush variety of Raw Cashew Shells.


The following sites can be checked for suppliers of machinery for cashew processing


Product Specifications



The basic quality requirements for cashew-nut kernels are defined by the following criteria.

  • Style: whole (kernels with no more than 1/8 of the kernel broken off are considered as whole), broken (butts, splits and pieces)
  • Presence of insects, mould, rancidity, spots or blemishes
  • Taste and flavour

Specific cashew-nut quality requirements are defined by the following criteria.

  • Class

Classification of cashew nuts is not officially defined in the European Union. However, the classification by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is widely used, where cashew nuts are classified into three main classes: ‘Extra Class’, ‘Class I’ and ‘Class II’. This classification is made according to the allowed defects and the colour of the kernel skin. The main producing countries India, Brazil and Vietnam also have a classification.

  • Grading

Grading categories for cashew nuts are not officially defined in the European Union. The most frequently used grading classification comes from UNECE and is also correspondent to the United States cashew nuts standards. In this standard, grades are defined by the number of cashew nuts in one pound (0.454 kg) or in one kilogram (for example 210 per pound equals 465 per kilogram).

  • Special Characteristics

In practice quality and price of product is usually determined by the characteristics of cashew nuts which combine style of the product (whole, splits or pieces) with grade and look of the skin. The skin may be white, or to some degree scorched (darkened during the process of roasting shells before taking kernels out of the shells).



The name of the product must be shown on the label, and read either ‘cashew nuts kernels’ or ‘cashew nuts’. Other trade names regarding form can be used in addition to ‘cashew nuts kernels’. It is common that export packaging labelling also includes the crop year.

Information about non-retail packaging has to be given either on the packaging or in accompanying documents. Bulk packaging labelling must contain the following information:

  • name of the product
  • lot identification
  • name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer
  • storage instructions (storage and transport instructions are very important due to high oil content which can negatively influence the quality of product if not handled properly).

However, lot identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer may be replaced by an identification mark.

In the case of retail packaging, product labelling must be in compliance with the European Union Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers. This regulation defines nutrition labelling, origin labelling, allergen labelling and legibility (minimum font size for mandatory information) more clearly.

This regulation came into effect on 13 December 2014 but the obligation to provide nutrition information applies from 13 December 2016. Please note that according to this regulation, cashew nuts are listed as products causing allergies or intolerances and therefore allergen advice must be clearly visible on the retail packaging.



There is no general rule for the export size of the packaging of cashew nuts, but the most common type of export packaging is polysacks (10–25 kg). Cashew nuts are also packaged in such things as boxes or cartons containing two sealed tinplate canisters to protect the product from autoxidation.


Which European markets offer opportunities for exporters of cashew nuts?

The Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom are currently the largest import markets and they offer good opportunities for developing countries exporters of cashew nuts. Furthermore, large markets opportunities can be found in the growing markets of Central and eastern Europe.



Increasing imports from developing country

  • In the long term, the European market for cashew nuts is expected to grow steadily. This growth is likely to be driven by changes in consumption patterns of European consumers including rising demand for vegetable sources of protein to replace meat.
  • Regular fluctuations in imports will continue to be influenced by the harvested crops rather than changes in demand.
  • European imports of cashew nuts into Europe increased annually by the average rate of 14% in values and 11% in volume in the last five years (2011–2015).
  • Many of the importing countries starting to import cashew nuts directly rather than through intermediaries. Imports from developing countries are growing more rapidly than from other European countries.
  • In 2015, the value of import of cashew nuts reached €1.17 billion and 172 thousand tonnes.


Netherlands and Germany leading importers

  • The European import market for cashew nuts is very concentrated and the two largest importers (the Netherlands and Germany) accounted for more than 50% of total imports. Both countries are big consumers of cashew nuts and they are also transit countries for other European destinations.
  • Large shares of cashew nuts are re-exported from the Dutch port of Rotterdam to other European countries (around 28 thousand tonnes). Other important ports for cashew nuts are Hamburg in Germany and Felixstowe and Tilbury in the United Kingdom.
  • Central and eastern European countries are increasing imports of cashew nuts faster than western Europe. Within Europe, the countries with the highest annual import growth in quantity of cashew nuts in the last five years were Lithuania (42%), Poland (31%), Austria (30%), Bulgaria (29%) and Romania (27%).
  • Import of in-shell cashew nuts is insignificant in Europe; imports of shelled unprocessed cashew nuts represents more than 99% of European imports.
  • Examples of cashew nuts importers are Amberwood TradingGlobal Trading and Voicevale.



  • In terms of value, apparent consumption of edible nuts is increasing by an average annual rate of 9%, but in the last three years this increase was even larger.
  • The largest European consumer of cashew nuts in Europe is Germany which had a total consumption of more than 23,000 tonnes and estimated consumption of 1.13 kg of cashew nuts per capita in 2014. However, the Netherlands is the largest European consumer of cashew nuts per capita at 1.55 kg. Other major consuming countries are the United Kingdom (with a total consumption of 16,000 tonnes), France (10,000 tonnes) and Italy (7,000 tonnes).
  • Cashew-nut consumption as a snack is seasonal in Europe and in winter months it reaches a peak, with consumption then falling towards the summer. The winter cashew-nut consumption peak is connected with the Christmas and New Year holidays in European countries.
  • The outlook for the consumption of cashew nuts in Europe is positive, with stable growth expected. A driving factor in this expected growth is an increased interest in healthy eating, as cashew nuts are a source of protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fats. They are considered a source of unsaturated fats that benefit the heart, and a good source of zinc, copper, iron and magnesium.
  • Cashew nuts belong to the more premium segment of nut snacks and reach much higher prices than, for instance, peanuts.


Packaging requirements


Packaging used for cashew nuts must:

  • protect the appearance, taste, flavour and quality characteristics of the product. Cashew nuts in bags must not be stowed together with fibres or fibrous materials, either, since oil-impregnated fibres accelerate self-heating processes and rancidity
  • protect the product from bacteriological and other contamination (including contamination from the packaging material itself); when container transport is used, damage due to moisture may arise if the water content of the cargo is too high
  • not pass on any odour, taste, colour or other foreign characteristics to the product; cashew nuts are sensitive to unpleasant and/or pungent odours.

The safety of food contact materials must be evaluated and it must be ensured that there is no migration of unsafe levels of chemical substances from the material to the food.




general cargo

general cargo

temperature controlled

temperature controlled


Means of transport



Container transport

Use Ventilated containers (coffee containers), if the lower limits set for the water content of goods, packaging and flooring and the oil content of the goods are complied with and if protection against solar radiation is ensured (risk of self-heating). Cashew kernels are predominantly shipped in containers.

Cargo handling
In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since it may lead to mold, spoilage and self-heating as a result of increased respiratory activity.



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