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Cashew, from seed to market: A review


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Cashew is a tropical tree native to South America. Cashew was introduced in Asia and Africa by European explorers in the sixteenth century. The world production of cashew raw nuts reached 4.27 million tons in 2011. Vietnam is the top producer of raw nuts, and India is the first processor and exporter of processed nuts. The cashew market is expected to remain strong due to the high growth of production in some areas such as West Africa. For instance, a 40 % production increase has been observed in Nigeria over the last 5 years. There is also an increasing exploitation of high-value by-products, particularly those made of cashew nut shell liquid. Cashew production is potentially a major value for smallholder farmers from emerging countries. Despite the relevance of cashew production on the international markets and the potential for boosting rural development and reducing poverty, a complete review on cashew is missing. Therefore, we review here the cashew production chain. Our main conclusions are as follows: (1) several management practices, processing methods, and uses of products and by-products are published; (2) however, there is still a lack of knowledge due to a scattered research framework lacking integrated research programs; (3) smallholder farmers face major constraints limiting the development of cashew sector locally, ranging from difficult access to good planting material and training to lack of investment for innovating processing facilities; (4) among them, women, that account for up to 95 % of the workforce in the sector, receive lower wages and are subject to worse working conditions.
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Cashew, from seed to market: a review
Bianca Dendena &Stefano Corsi
Accepted: 8 July 2014 /Published online: 30 July 2014
#INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2014
Abstract Cashew is a tropical tree native to South America.
Cashew was introduced in Asia and Africa by European
explorers in the sixteenth century. The world production of
cashew raw nuts reached 4.27 million tons in 2011. Vietnam is
the top producer of raw nuts, and India is the first processor
and exporter of processed nuts. The cashew market is expect-
ed to remain strong due to the high growth of production in
some areas such as West Africa. For instance, a 40 % produc-
tion increase has been observed in Nigeria over the last 5 years.
There is also an increasing exploitation of high-value by-
products, particularly those made of cashew nut shell liquid.
Cashew production is potentially a major value for smallhold-
er farmers from emerging countries. Despite the relevance of
cashew production on the international markets and the po-
tential for boosting rural development and reducing poverty, a
complete review on cashew is missing. Therefore, we review
here the cashew production chain. Our main conclusions are
as follows: (1) several management practices, processing
methods, and uses of products and by-products are published;
(2) however, there is still a lack of knowledge due to a
scattered research framework lacking integrated research pro-
grams; (3) smallholder farmers face major constraints limiting
the development of cashew sector locally, ranging from diffi-
cult access to good planting material and training to lack of
investment for innovating processing facilities; (4) among
them, women, that account for up to 95 % of the workforce
in the sector, receive lower wages and are subject to worse
working conditions.
Keywords AnacardiumoccidentaleL. .Value chain .Cashew
nut .Cashew processing .Smallholder f armers .Development
1. Introduction....................................1
2. Botanicaldescription.............................2
3. Originanddiffusion............................4
4. Ecology.........................................4
5. Agronomicpractices.............................5
5.1. Propagation...............................5
5.2. Landpreparation...........................5
5.3. Weeding...................................6
5.4. Intercropping...........................7
5.5. Fertilization............................7
5.6. Irrigation..............................7
5.7. Pestcontrol............................8
5.8. Pruning...................................8
5.9. Harvesting............................8
6. Cashew products and by-products: uses and
processing ................................. 8
6.1. Products..................................8
6.1.1. Cashewkernel...................8
6.1.2. Cashewapple........ .............. 11
6.2. By-products......................... ..11
6.2.1. Cashewnutshellliquid.............11
6.2.2. Cashewskinextract....... ........12
6.2.3. Cashewshellcake....... .........12
6.2.4. Cashewbark....... .............13
6.3. Minorproducts....... ............... .....13
7. Internationalmarketanddevelopment............13
7.1. Implicationsforsmallholderfarmers.........15
8. Conclusions................................16
1 Introduction
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a tropical nut tree
likely native of South America, with Central Brazil agreed
to be the center of origin (Johnson 1973; Nair 2010). After the
B. Dendena (*):S. Corsi
Dipartimento di Economia, Management e Metodi Quantitativi
(DEMM), Università degli Studi di Milano,
Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy
Agron. Sustain. Dev. (2014) 34:753772
DOI 10.1007/s13593-014-0240-7
introduction of cashew crop to Asia and Africa during the
explorations of European conquerors, mainly Portuguese,
cashew has widely spread becoming a major export commod-
ity crop for several countries. In 2011, about 4.7 million tons
of raw nuts was produced worldwide, almost equally distrib-
uted between Asia and Africa, whereas almost 1.8 million
tons over 2 million tons of cashew apples were produced in
South America, namely, Brazil (FAO 2013a). The growing
interest in cashew crop is shown by the evidence that cashew
kernel, the main product cashew iscropped for, is a high-value
luxury commodity with steadily growing production volumes
and sales over the last 20 years (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001;
FAO 2013a). Also, there are expectations that the market will
remain strong for some time due the considerable potential to
the cashew market for high-value by-products, such as cashew
nut shell liquid, broken nuts, and cashew shell cake
(Boillereau and Adam 2007). What is more, cashew has been
mainly produced in emerging countries where it is both an
agricultural commodity that significantly contributes to gross
domestic product and export exchanges at the country level
and an essential source for the livelihood of smallholder
farmers that make up the majority of the producers and pro-
cessors worldwide (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001; Fitzpatrick
2011). Therefore, the cashew industry plays an important role
in the economic development of countries like Vietnam, India,
Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Ghana and should thus be consid-
ered a key contributor to the achievement of the United
Nations Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, the cashew
industry could be positively exploited in this sense for
empowering smallholder farmers with a particular focus on
women, creating revenues and employment opportunities, and
promoting small- to medium-scale industrialization processes,
especially in rural areas (Fig. 1).
Cashew production has been steadily increasing over re-
cent years, which is more down to an increase in the cultivated
area from 1,963,000 ha in 1992 to greater than 5,300,000 ha in
2011 (FAO 2013a) than an increase in productivity per hect-
are, which almost doubled from 475 to 805 kg/ha in the same
reference period (FAO 2013a). The relatively limited im-
provement in productivity per hectare can be attributed to
constraints in the improvement of cashew species through
conventional breeding, for which there is still a limited under-
standing concerning vegetative propagation methods, includ-
ing micro-propagation (Aliyu2005). Additionally, map-based
programs are still in their inception phase; thus, more research
is needed to genetically characterize some agronomically
valuable traits. Similarly, there is a wide variety of crop
management techniques, processing methods, and equipment
options that have only been partially tested and investi-
gated, thus limiting their potential application. Therefore,
in order to identify and highlight the major findings as
well as the fields yet to be explored in the research on
cashew crop, this review was undertaken by adopting a
value chain approach. Following the methodology of this
approach, the entire value chain of cashew crop was
thoroughly reviewed by critically analyzing and summa-
rizing peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings,
and reports by international organizations. The literature
depicted a fragmented and dated framework that this
review aims to update and organize.
2 Botanical description
Cashew (A. occidentale L.) is an evergreen perennial tree plant
belonging to the family Anacardiaceae. This family is consid-
ered to encompass 6074 genera consisting of 400600 spe-
cies, depending on the classification adopted (Bailey 1961;
Brizicky 1962;Khoslaetal.1973; Mitchell and Mori 1987).
Among the eight species in the genus Anacardium, only
cashew (occidentale) is of economic value, due to its edible
hypocarp and nutritious kernel.
Plant height varies considerably, ranging from 5 to 14 m.
The canopy size also varies up to a width of 20 m. The root
system is usually deep and widespread. The root distribution
pattern depends on soil type, planting material and method,
age, level of crop nutrition, and irrigation. Upon germination
of the nut, the radicle develops rapidly into a tap root, which
further produces laterals. As the lateral roots elongate, fibrous
roots develop on the tap root. The early developed tap root
system gradually takes up a complex structure of extensive
roots with considerable lateral and vertical spread, with most
Fig. 1 a Farmer showing cashew
fruit in the early stage of
development in Zambia (©FAO/
G. Thomas). bWomen selecting
cashew nuts for packing in Sri
Lanka (©FAO/G. Bizzarri)
754 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
of the feeding roots residing in the surface layer of the soil. In
shallow laterite soils, typical oftropical areas where cashew is
probably native, cashew tree roots can extend up to 300 cm
laterally around the tree and 100 cm vertically (Abdul Salam
and Peter 2010). When propagated by transplantation, the
level of development of root system determines the establish-
ment of cashew planting material. Seedlings with good tap
roots and a number of laterals better withstand transplantation
shock and drought, whereas young seedlings with poorly
developed root systems fail to establish during summer
(Abdul Salam and Peter 2010).
The trunk is usually irregular and rather short, as the initial
branches grow close to the ground. Leaves are green, elliptic
to obovate, with smooth margins and sometimes a notched tip;
they are arranged in a spiral pattern toward the end of the stem
with a short stalk. Usually, there are 3 to 14 leaves on each
terminal stem, which become fully mature after 2025 days
after emerging (Johnson 1973;Lim2012;Ohler1979).
Flowers are gathered in a panicle which is up to 26 cm long
and bears 5 to 11 laterals. The panicles predominantly consti-
tute of male and hermaphrodite flowers in varying proportion.
Both of them present a single large stamen and five to nine
smaller ones. Overall, there may be 200 to 1,600 flowers per
panicle (Aliyu and Awopetu 2008;MoncurandWait1986;
Northwood 1966). Flowering occurs at the end of new shoots
in the periphery of the tree canopy over a 30- to 60-day period
during the vegetative flush that usually follows dry periods
(Martin et al. 1997). In tropical climates, which are wet on and
off throughout the year, flowering can occur at any time.
Individual flowers are small, consisting of a small crown
of five yellowish-green sepals and five white to reddish
petals (Fig. 2.).
When open, flowers are receptive to pollen for several
days. The stigma becomes immediately receptive, even
though the release of pollen occurs later. This favors cross-
pollination by insects, which largely predominates on self-
pollination due to the sticky nature of the pollen (Aliyu and
Awopetu 2008; Freitas and Paxton 1996; Northwood 1966).
The fruit of the cashew tree consists of an accessory fruit and
the true fruit itself. The former is an oval or, alternatively, pear-
shaped hypocarpium deriving from the enlargement of the
pedicel and the receptacle of the flower. It is known as the
cashew appleand, when fully ripened, is a yellow and/or red
structure 5 to 11 cm long. The latter is a kidney-shaped drupe
that develops at the bottom of the apple. This is the first part to
ripen on the cashew tree, followed by the cashew apple (Lim
2012; Johnson 1973; Varghese and Pundir 1964). Within this
fruit, there is a single seed, the cashew nut, which is
surrounded by a double shell containing anacardic acid, an
allergenic phenolic compound (Hemshekhar et al. 2011;Lim
2012; Tyman and Morris 1967).
Apart from the above-listed common features, there are
two distinct morphological groups within the A. occidentale
species that differ from one another in terms of size: the
common type and the dwarf type. The former is bigger and
generally more vigorous. Adult plants grow from 8 to 14 m in
height and develop a crown span that reaches up to 20 m
(Johnson 1973; Ohler 1979). They generally flower in their
third year from planting, but the minimum age for stable
production is usually 8 years and more commonly between
12 and 14. The individual production capacity varies consid-
erably, with plants producing less than 1 kg up to more than
100 kg of nuts per year. Similarly, a nuts weight can vary
between 3 and 33 g, with the pseudo-fruit ranging from 20 to
500 g. The dwarf type generally reaches no more than 5 m in
height, with a homogenous canopy 56.5 m wide. These
plants have a notably shorter juvenile phase as they start
flowering within 6 months so that they have a marketable
production in their second or third year from planting (Barros
1995; Barros et al. 2002). These traits, for which dwarf clones
were selected both in Brazil and India, significantly affect
production performance; at the optimum planting density,
within the reference period 19591995, the mean yield per
hectare was found to be 1,200 kg for the dwarf type and
379 kg for the common type (Barros et al. 2002). Other
characteristics that differentiate dwarf clones from common
types include smaller and lighter green leaves, a smaller stem
diameter, initial branches closer to the ground, smaller nuts,
and larger peduncles (Barros 1995). The genomic basis of
such divergence in plant phenotype is not yet fully under-
stood. The global increase in cashew crop production, in fact,
is probably partly based on genetic improvement programs
based on map-based breeding (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001).
These programs may be underdeveloped, due to the long
generation time of the species and to its outcrossing nature,
therefore hindering the possibility of obtaining homozygous
lines (Cavalcanti and Wilkinson 2007). A clear example of the
lack of clarity in the genetic background of cashew is the
disagreement still persisting over the chromosome number
and ploidy level of the species. Whereas there is a broad
consensus that the crop is probably diploid, with a haploid
count of n=21 (Aliyu and Awopetu 2007a), lower counts of
n=15 and n=12 have been reported (Khosla et al. 1973;
Fig. 2 Flowers of a cashew tree (©D. Lee)
Cashew, from seed to market 755
Machado 1944). In order to overcome these issues, more
attention is now being paid to genome-based analysis with
the aim of identifying loci that control economically viable
traits (Aliyu and Awopetu 2007b; Cavalcanti et al. 2007;
Cavalcanti and Wilkinson 2007).
3 Origin and diffusion
A. occidentale is considered native of tropical America, not-
withstanding the uncertainty in defining its natural distribu-
tion, due to its long association with man. Johnson (1973)
suggested that it originated in the restinga, meaning the low
vegetation found in the sandy soil along the coast of eastern
and northeastern Brazil. The similarity between the form of
cultivated A. occidentale and the native trees found in restinga
vegetation is high (Johnson 1973). A. occidentale was also
found to be an indigenous element of the savannahs of Co-
lombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, as well as occasionally a
dominant feature of the savannah-like vegetation, also known
as cerrados, of central and Amazonian Brazil (Nair 2010).
Therefore, it is believed that A. occidentale originally evolved
in the cerrados of Central Brazil and later spread in the
restingas of the coast. However, recent findings shed further
light on the origin of cashew. Archeological data from 47-
million-year-old lake sediment in Germany provided evidence
of distribution of cashew in Europe during the Tertiary period:
such a discovery suggests a bio-geographic link between the
American and European continents in terms of the distribution
of genus Anacardium (Manchester et al. 2007). What is
known for sure is the role of European explorers in spreading
cashew throughout the world: it is well documented that the
Portuguese discovered cashew in Brazil and thereafter intro-
duced it to Mozambique and later India during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. After coming to the east coast of
Africa in the second half of the sixteenth century, cashew then
spread to the west coast and finally to the islands. Following
its introduction into India, the plant was taken to Southeast
Asia and later it spread to Australia and parts of North Amer-
ica such as Florida (Nair 2010).
4 Ecology
Cashew tree is a perennial, drought-resistant plant, originating
from and mainly restricted to tropical and subtropical regions,
with some exceptions found in temperate climates. It is culti-
vated in almost all tropical countries around the world, with
the most intensive productionregions lying between 15° south
and north of the equator (Ohler 1979), where environmental
conditions are often characterized by low soil fertility, low
and/or erratic rainfall, and sometimes a considerable level of
salinity (Bezerra et al. 2007). Good yield performances
reaching 3 t/ha are obtained under high temperature, especial-
ly within the range 1535 °C, with the optimum between 24
and 30 °C. However, the optimal temperature for seed germi-
nation is around 35 °C (Dedzoe et al. 2001). Usually, a dry
period of 4 months or more is required for a reasonable yield
due to the fact that flowering occurs after dry spells; however,
flowering can occur at any time throughout the year in the case
of an undefined dry season (Dedzoe et al. 2001). Nevertheless,
an annual precipitation range of 1,0002,000 mm is necessary
for a good yield (Sys et al. 1993). In addition, the growth and
development of the crop considerably depend on soil type and
quality: though cashew grows on a wide range of soils, light-
to medium-textured, deep, well-drained soils are generally the
most suitable. With regard to this, Luvisols, Lixisols, and
Acrisols have been reported to be highly suitable for cashew,
being generally deep (>100150 cm) and medium-textured
(Dedzoe et al. 2001). Required base saturation levels should
be above 35 %, whereas pH should range between 5.2 and 7.
The optimum organic matter level is 1.43.0 % (Sys et al.
1993), even though in several areas devoted to cashew culti-
vation, such as in West Africa, organic matter content can be
lower than 1 % (Dedzoe et al. 2001;Jones1973). In such
contexts, soil fertility is usually very low, since low organic
matter content is often correlated with low nitrogen and avail-
able phosphorus in soils. However, such issues can be ad-
dressed by sound management practices, as cashew has been
found to positively respond to nitrogen, phosphorus, and
sulfur application (Grundon 1999;OFarrell et al. 2010;
Sawke et al. 1979). What may hinder cashew growth and
development instead is salinity. This retards the germination
process in precocious dwarf clones, with ECw 1.48 dS m
considered to be the threshold for irrigation water (Carneiro
et al. 2002). Salinity was also shown to impair potassium
metabolism depending on the substrate and duration of the
stress (Viégas et al. 2001), as well as nitrogen metabolism, as
it reduces the activity of enzymes involved in nitrate reduction
(Viégas et al. 2004).
Although association with nitrogen-fixing bacteria has not
been reported in cashew, arbuscular mychorrizal fungi
biotrophically colonizing cashew were found to enhance plant
growth by improving phosphorus nutrition. Shoot length,
internode number and length, number of leaves, stem diame-
ter, root length, and number were in fact found to significantly
increase in the clone VRI-3, which is commonly used as
cashew rootstock, and softwood for grafting was obtained
earlier compared to the un-inoculated control
(Ananthakrishnan et al. 2004; Lakshmipathy et al. 2004).
However, there are still few studies exploring arbuscular
mychorrizal fungicashew plant associations; therefore, fur-
ther research should be undertaken in order to better under-
stand the influence of environmental factors on fungal spore
density, their distribution, establishment, and survival with the
aim of developing large-scale inoculation programs.
756 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
5 Agronomic practices
A wide variety of agronomic practices applied in cultivating
cashew are reported worldwide (Table 1). A review of them is
provided here.
5.1 Propagation
There are two primary methods adopted to grow cashew: the
former, and most widespread worldwide, is by placing seeds
directly in the field. This is usually preferred over the latter,
which consists of transplanting seedlings from nurseries.
Seedlings have been reported to have a delicate root system
to which transplanting may have a negative impact (Azam-Ali
and Judge 2001). Apart from allowing the plant to naturally
develop its root system (Ohler 1979), sowing is cheaper and
quicker compared to other methods. Seeds are placed at a
depth from about 5 to 10 cm, depending on soil texture
(Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). Two or three seeds are sown
together in order to avoid gaps in the plantation in case of seed
failure (Ohler 1979). For seeds that have been stored for no
longer than 5 to 6 months in gunny bags, and after been sun
dried for 2 or 3 days, germination takes 1520 days (Azam-
Ali and Judge 2001). Transplanting is used because it provides
the opportunity to select good seedlings to ensure uniformity
while establishing the cashew orchard, which is not possible
with sowing (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). The age at the time
of transplanting is critical to the success of seedling develop-
ment; in Nigeria 2 to 3.5 months was recommended to trans-
plant nursed cashew seedlings (Adenikinju et al. 1989),
whereas in Ghana, high establishment success (>90 %) was
observed after 1.52 months (Opoku-Ameyaw et al. 2007).
When ready, seedlings are placed in the ground in a way to
minimize damage to the root system. For example, in Cuba,
baskets of uva grass are used and cut away when the seedling
is transplanted. In Jamaica, seedlings are removed with a ball
of soil and the top is cut back by one third before puttingit into
the ground (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). In the case of rainfed
plantations, whether they are sown or planted, cashew seed-
lings are placed in the ground during the rainy season, as
seedlings and germinating seeds have to be securely rooted
before soils dry out. In this sense, early plantingis preferred as
it gives more time for seedlings to develop before the onset of
the dry season (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001).
Even though there are no studies investigating cashew
production performance when propagated by layering, this
propagation method is quite popular. Layering can take the
form of either ground or air layering. In the former case, the
tendency of the canopy to trail on the ground with the lowest
branches spontaneously rooting has been exploited in India
simply by covering such branches with soil and keeping it
moist. However, such method was gradually abandoned, as
the layers are not easily transplanted elsewhere, and they result
in low trees of spreading habit (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001).
Air layering instead was one of the most successful methods
for vegetative propagation in cashew, providing the opportu-
nity to obtain plantations from high yielding and uniform
material. By contrast, it is rather laborious and only a few
layers can be produced by each tree per year (80120; Azam-
Ali and Judge 2001).
Propagation by grafting was also extensively used as it
permits the selection of desirable phenotypes. Rootstocks of
varying age were tested, and a positive correlation between
graft mortality and the age of the rootstock was found. How-
ever, it is the method that was proven to have the highest
influence on grafting success: wedge grafting, in fact, showed
to perform better than apical side veneer and side grafting, as it
allowed the scion to sprout considerably (Mahunu et al. 2009).
Along with these traditional grafting techniques, also
inarching is reported for cashew (Azam-Ali and Judge
2001). Grafting was seen to be dependent on weather param-
eters: in particular, successful grafting was positively correlat-
ed to mean minimum temperature and the number of rainy
days per month in India. Here, the monsoon period turned out
to be the most suitable for softwood grafting with a success
rate of more than 60 % (Swamy et al. 1990).
For a long time, there were no full-scale breeding programs
applied to cashew, so the planting material was obtained
simply by selecting either vegetative organs or seeds from
the best performing plants when harvesting. From the 1970s
onwards, a growing interest in exploring the genetic diversity
of cashew opened up the way for germplasm acquisition
programs, promoting exchanges between Africa, India, and
South America (Aliyu and Awopetu 2007b). It was expected
that introduction of genetic materials of different geographical
origin, along with possible genetic introgression among ma-
terials that coexisted for a long time, would have resulted in
variation in the available cashew genetic resources. Since
then, several studies have appeared exploring the similar-
ities and diversity in the genetic pool of cashew around
the world, trying to identify parental lines and exploit
heterosis with the aim of selecting economically valuable
traits (Mneney et al. 2001).
5.2 Land preparation
Land preparation is a critical step for establishing a cash-
ew plantation as cashew is very sensitive to competition
with weeds as it grows in full light. The detrimental
effects of weeds are higher during the early stage of
development, as roots of weeds and seedlings are in the
same layer of soil, thus competing for water and nutrients
(Opoku-Ameyaw et al. 2012). In light to medium soils,
In case of harder substrates, pits may be 1 m deep to
compensate for the lesser depth of top soil. Pits are first
Cashew, from seed to market 757
exposed to direct sunlight, which help in removing ter-
mites and other harmful insects (FAO 1998)andarethen
filled with soil mixed with poultry manure, compost, and
possibly phosphate about 2 weeks before planting. Such
loose and fertile soil is favorable to germination (Azam-Ali
and Judge 2001).
Density planting considerably varies: in Tanzania, 40 trees
was reported for large trees, as well as 120 trees ha
Tabl e 1 Summary of the agronomic practices adopted worldwide in cashew cultivation: a brief description and the geographic reference are reported for
each practice
Agronomic practices Notes Countries References
Propagation Sowing Seed directly placed in the field at a depth
depending on soil texture (510 cm);
2 or 3 seeds per hole
Worldwide Ohler (1979), Azam-Ali
and Judge (2001)
Transplanting Seedlings transplanted from nursery.
Age: from 1.5 to 3.5 months
Nigeria, Ghana Adenikinju et al. (1989),
Opoku-Ameyaw et al. (2007)
Seedlings moved by using basket of grass or
by taking up balls of soil then partially removed
Cuba, Jamaica Azam-Ali and Judge (2001)
Ground layering Lowest branches trailing on the ground covered
with soil and kept moist
India Azam-Ali and Judge (2001)
Air layering A strip of bark removed from a year-old branch;
the exposed wood wrapped in a sheet until
a callus is formed and develops roots
India, Sri Lanka FAO (1998), Azam-Ali and
Judge (2001)
Grafting Depending on age, method, and weather
conditions. Several methods reported,
including wedge grafting, side grafting,
and inarching
Ghana, India Swamy et al. (1990), Azam-Ali
and Judge (2001), Mahunu et al.
Land preparation Pits dug prior to sowing or transplanting
depending on soil texture, exposed to
sunlight to remove pests and then filled
with soil mixed with manure. Density,
40120 trees ha
;156175 trees ha
625 trees ha
(associated with thinning)
Tanzania, India, Indonesia FAO (1998), Azam-Ali and Judge
Martin et al. (1997)
Abdul Salam and Peter (2010)
Weeding Until tree canopies shade out the weeds,
weeding is done around the tree trunks
up to a radius of about 2 m. Manual
slashing, glyphosate application, and
intercropping are reported
Worldwide Ohler (1979), Opoku-Ameyaw
et al. (2011)
Intercropping Extensively applied, especially in the
establishment phase. Association with
cassava, groundnuts, maize, yam,
and sheanut
Tanzania, Ghana, India Martin et al. (1997), Opoku-Ameyaw
and Appiah (2000),
Opoku-Ameyaw et al. (2011)
Fertilization Nitrogen application reported to increase
productivity in the vegetative growth stage.
Phosphorous and sulfur also
reported to positively affect yield. Better
response reported for organic fertilizers
(cow dung and poultry droppings)
than for inorganic sources
Worldwide Grundon (1999), Azam-Ali
and Judge (2001), OFarrell
et al. (2010), Ipinmoroti et al. (2011)
Irrigation Significant increase in yield reported in
response to irrigation
India Oliveira et al. (2006), Rejani and
Yadu ku m a r ( 2010)
In rainfed regimes, soil and water conservation
techniques are reported to enhance plant
growth and yield
Pest control Chemical control reported as the most commonly
used method; biological control also applied
but its viability has to be improved
Worldwide Nair (2010), Mohapatra et al. (2007)
Pruning Carried out both for promoting a uniform
canopy and for controlling pest once a year,
commonly after the seasonal fruiting
Worldwide FAO (1998), Nathaniels et al. (2003),
Asogwa et al. (2008)
Harvesting Generally nuts are collected when they have
dropped; for fresh fruit consumption
and juice production, cashew
apples are collected on the plant
Worldwide Azam-Ali and Judge (2001), Asogwa
et al. (2008)
758 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
smaller plants (Martin et al. 1997). In India, a planting density
of 156175 trees ha
was used, with similar values reported
in Indonesia (FAO 1998). When the density is as high as 625
plants per hectare, achieved by using a 4×4-m spacing, it is
then subject to subsequent thinning, as cashew tree production
can be significantly reduced by such overcrowding (Abdul
Salam and Peter 2010). In this case, tree yield is used as
selection criterion which allows cashew growers to reduce
the variance in cashew production between trees (Martin and
Kasuga 1995). Apart from relieving tree competition, tree
removal was found to be beneficial also by creating a less
favorable micro-climate for diseases (Martin et al. 1997).
5.3 Weeding
As previously mentioned, weeding is a major issue, as weeds
can prevent seedlings from developing. Hence, until tree
canopies shade out the weeds, weeding is essential around
the tree trunks up to a radius of about 2 m. Several methods
have been used to control weeds: for a long time, manual
slashing was the most widespread but has recently been turned
down for other methods due to its short-lived effects (Ohler
1979). The use of herbicide glyphosate was found to be
significantly more effective, since after 1 year, greener leaves
were observed in treated cashew plantswith respect to control
plants, and the weed composition remaining was easier to
control (Opoku-Ameyaw et al. 2012). Weeding cycles gener-
ally coincide with fertilizer applications (FAO 1998). In low
rainfall areas, mulching has been used as weeding practice,
which also contributes to moisture retention and moderation
of soil temperature (FAO 1998). Even though its economic
viability for this purpose is still to be proven (Opoku-Ameyaw
et al. 2012), intercropping provides an environmentally sus-
tainable practice for weeding.
5.4 Intercropping
Intercropping has been extensively applied to cashew crops,
particularly in the establishment phase, in line with an age-
long practice of tree cultivation in the tropics (Opoku-
Ameyaw et al. 2011). The benefits of this practice are well
documented and range from improving the food security of
growers by varying their diet, providing revenues for liveli-
hood, and better exploiting soil resources (Rodrigo et al.
2001). The performance of integrated systems depends on
the choice of the food crop to be coupled with cashew;
according to Ohler (1979), the use of early bearing low-
growing food intercrops should be preferred, whereas tall
intercrops like certain varieties of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor
(L.) Moench) and millet should not be grown with cashew as
they cast too much shade and negatively affect cashew seed-
ling growth. However, an intercropping of cashew with citrus
and coconut was reported with no yield data in the coastal and
northern districts of Tanzania, with cassava, groundnuts, and
maize being more widespread in other areas (Martin et al.
1997). Recent studies conducted in Ghana testing cashew
intercropped with sorghum, maize, yam, and groundnut dem-
onstrated a significantly improved growth of cashew seedlings
when associated with maize and groundnut. Nevertheless, no
significant increase in cashew yield was observed nor did the
intercropping tests turn out to be profitable apart from in the
case of maize and yam, which highlighted the need to conduct
further research with the aim of producing guidelines for
cashew growers (Opoku-Ameyaw et al. 2011). Interestingly,
cashew was also used as an intercrop in sheanut stands in
Ghana (Opoku-Ameyaw and Appiah 2000). Even though
there were no data proving the effect of cashew on sheanut
production, the association was proven successful in that, after
the application of potash and superphosphate, both the girth
and the canopy of cashew seedlings increased, thus producing
a shading effect and enhancing weed control (Opoku-
Ameyaw and Appiah 2000).
5.5 Fertilization
The response of cashew to fertilizer application has been
proven in several studies (e.g. OFarrell et al. 2010;Ghosh
and Bose 1986; Grundon 1999). Particularly, the greatest
effect of nitrogen application on increasing yield was ob-
served when applied during the vegetative growth stage. Such
timing, in fact, was shown to reduce late flowering and nut
drop (OFarrell et al. 2010). Whereas phosphorus and sulfur
applications were proven to positively affect plant growth and
nut production (Grundon 1999), the response to potassium
application is still controversial (Grundon 1999; Sawke et al.
1979). An important factor to take into consideration while
planning fertilizer application is the nutrient removal from the
soil, due to fruit and pseudo-fruit harvesting. With regard to
this, Panda (2013), assuming an annual average yield of 5
10 kg nuts/tree, recommends to apply 500 g N, 125 P
125 K
O per tree annually in two split doses. Other mixtures
of inorganic fertilizers are also reported in literature, depend-
ing on the age and the growth stage of the plant. For example,
Ghosh and Bose (1986) found that larger yields of cashew
nuts were obtained with a combination of N, P
equivalent to 200, 75, and 100 g/plant/year, respectively.
Subramanian et al. (1995), instead, reported the application
of 250, 125, and 125 g/plant/year of N, P
, and K
respectively, to be suitable for significantly increasing the
yield of 15-year-old cashew plants. Concerning the type of
fertilizer, there is experimental evidence that, when fertilized
with inorganic NPK source (15:15:15) and organic fertilizers,
cashew plants better respond to the latter in the form of cow
dung and poultry dropping. These types of manure, in fact,
contain other macro-and micro-nutrients like calcium and
magnesium, which are not available from inorganic sources.
Cashew, from seed to market 759
Moreover, manure slowly releases nitrogen thus limiting
leaching and acidification and may improve soil structure
and water content (Ipinmoroti et al. 2011).
5.6 Irrigation
Cashew crop is generally rainfed cultivated, but a significant
increase in yield has been reported in response to irrigation.
However, such response considerably varied depending on the
clone, thus suggesting different interactions between geno-
types and environmental conditions (Oliveira et al. 2006).
Irrigation should be foreseen when water requirements reach
their maximum, i.e., during the dry season, which often coin-
cides with cashew flowering and nut development. Interest-
ingly, in rainfed regimes, soil and water conservation tech-
niques such as catch pits and reverse terraces were found to
significantly enhance plant growth and nut yield by reducing
runoff and nutrient leaching, as well as by increasing soil
moisture on hilly land, thus opening up the opportunity to
grow cashew on marginal land (Rejani and Yadukumar 2010).
5.7 Pest control
Among the factors significantly hindering cashew production
are pests and diseases, the latter being by far the most impor-
tant constraint. Pests include sap-sucking bugs, leaf-chewing
caterpillars, beetles, aphids, scales, and mites. They cause
considerable damage to foliage and fruits by determining the
death of the floral-flushing shoots and the early abortion of
young nuts, thus resulting in considerable loss of yield (Azam-
Ali and Judge 2001). More than 190 species of insects and
mites have been listed as pests occurring in different cashew-
growing countries in the world (Nair 2010; for a sample of the
most relevant, see Table 2), with the tea mosquito bug
(Helopeltis antonii) being one of the most widespread, along
with stem and root borers (Nair 2010). Apart from chemical
control, which is by far the most commonly used method,
biological control for the mosquito tea bug was also proved to
be possible with options being found both in Asia and Africa,
like Erythmelus helopeltidis parasitizing its eggs
(Devasahayam and Nair 1986)andTelenomus sp. and
Chaetostricha minor being its natural predators (Sundararaju
1993). However, the efficacy and the economic viability of the
integrated pest management by biological control still need to
be improved (Mohapatra et al. 2007), as well as the
knowledge-sharing process with farmers, which has been
found to be a major constraint in the implementation of this
method (Nathaniels et al. 2003). Among diseases caused by
pathogens, those brought by fungi are the most dangerous,
particularly anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum
gloeosporioides, black mold by Pilgeriella anacardii, and
powdery mildew by Oidium sp. (Freire et al. 2002; for a
sample of the most relevant, see Table 2). They can usually
be controlled by fungicide applications.
5.8 Pruning
Pruning for tree training is commonly carried out both in
Asia (FAO 1998) and Africa (Asogwa et al. 2008). Such
practice is essential to promote the growth of a uniform
canopy and avoid overcrowding, to which cashew plants
are particularly sensitive. Plants are trained to a single
stem where branches are allowed to grow about 0.751m
from ground level. Moreover, plants are usually kept at a
height of 45 m by topping off the main stem, in order to
reduce work required for orchard management. Pruning is
also used as pest control practice, in that deformed
branches due to infection by pests and diseases are re-
moved to limit their spread (Nathaniels et al. 2003).
Pruning should be carried out once a year and is conduct-
ed most commonly after the seasonal fruiting (Asogwa
et al. 2008).
5.9 Harvesting
Cashew plants flower for 2 or 3 months and fruits mature
about 2 months after the blooming. When the whole fruit is
fully ripe, it falls to the ground and harvesting generally
involves collecting nuts when they have dropped (Azam-Ali
and Judge 2001). However, especially for fresh fruit consump-
tion and juice production, where the apple is required to be
fully mature, some farmers prefer collecting the cashew apples
still on the plant to prevent pilferage and apple bursting
(Asogwa et al. 2008). Harvesting is usually carried out man-
ually from the ground, which is highly labor intensive and
involves women and children. Alternatively, it is done by
using a small basket or sack attached to a ring at the end of a
long stick (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). In order to ensure the
quality of the product, nuts are dried out after separating them
from the apple that, in turn, is usually processed within the
first 24 h. Nuts are traditionally sundried for 2 or 3 days
depending on weather and harvesting conditions, in order to
bring down the moisture content from 25 to 78 % before
processing (Asogwa et al. 2008; Mohod et al. 2010).
6 Cashew products and by-products: uses and processing
6.1 Products
Cashew has been cultivated essentially for food and medicine
purposes by using the whole cashew fruit, i.e., the apple and
the kernel. During the World War II, cashew gained further
added value due to the exploitation of a major by-product, the
760 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
cashew nut shell liquid, which has then been extensively used
for industrial applications (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001).
6.1.1 Cashew kernel
The kernel is the main product that cashew is cropped for. It
has been estimated that about 60 % of cashew nut is consumed
in the form of snacks, mostly roasted and salted. The remain-
ing 40 % is instead used in confectionary and bakery products,
often as a substitute for peanut and almond (Azam-Ali and
Judge 2001). Apart from its pleasant flavor, the widespread
consumption of cashew nut is due to its nutritional properties.
Such properties are mainly linked to the high content in lipids,
which is predominantly given by monounsaturated (MUFAs)
and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and have been
shown to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
levels and coronary heart disease risks (Hu et al. 2001). Lipid
content in cashew nut was found to range from 40 to 47 %
(Gallina Toschi et al. 1993;Ryanetal.2006). Investigations of
the fatty acid profile revealed that MUFAs and PUFAs ac-
count for 79 % of total fatty acids, which approaches the 85 %
composition for an ideal fat (Gallina Toschi et al. 1993;
Venkatachalam and Sathe 2006). This feature is particularly
relevant as such content can be attributed to oleic and linoleic
acids, with the former being the most abundant MUFA and
one of the most readily metabolized fatty acids and the latter
the most abundant PUFA and precursor of prostaglandin, as
well as an essential fatty acid (Gallina Toschi et al. 1993). The
reduction of coronary heart diseases associated with nut con-
sumption was also correlated with the presence of other bio-
active compounds, such as tocopherols, squalene, and phytos-
terols (Kris-Etherton et al. 2001) that were found to be present
in cashew nut, although to a lesser extent compared to pista-
chio and pine nuts (Ryan et al. 2006). Protein content was
found to vary considerably, from 19 % (Venkatachalam and
Sathe 2006) up to 36 % (Aremu et al. 2006;Pearson1976).
Carbohydrate content was seen to span from 1.4 %
(Akinhanmi et al. 2008) to 26.8 % (Aremu et al. 2006), with
2025 % being the most common values, depending on the
level of crude fat and protein, in turn determined by cashew
variety and environmental conditions (Akinhanmi et al.
2008). The analysis of the amino acid profile revealed
glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and leucine being the most abun-
dant (22.413.6, 5.610.2, and 6.28.0 %, respectively;
Aremu et al. 2006,2007; Venkatachalam and Sathe 2006).
The same studies, in line with previous findings, confirmed
high total amino acid content over crude protein (up to 76 % in
Aremu et al. 2006), which makes cashew nut a good source of
amino acids. The high quality of cashew nut amino acid
supply is further confirmed by the high value of total essential
amino acids, accounting for up to 47 % (Aremu et al. 2007).
Such content, however, was found sufficient to meet adult
requirements for lysine and threonine but not the requirements
for infants (06 months) or children (up to 3 years) according
to the joint FAO Expert Consultation (FAO 2013b);
(Venkatachalam and Sathe 2006). Studies of mineral compo-
sition showed high content of potassium (up to 38 %; Aremu
et al. 2006), followed by magnesium and calcium. Calcium
content was found to be similar to phosphorus, which indi-
cates that cashew nut is a good source of minerals for bone
formation. Zinc and iron were found to be the least abundant
(Akinhanmi et al. 2008; Aremu et al. 2006).
Cashew nut processing Cashew processing methods have
evolved over the years, with the introduction of automation
at some levels of the processing chain, as well as the diversi-
fication of operations across countries to meet environmental
conditions and production capacities. The whole process
Tabl e 2 List of major pests affecting cashew: species, common names, symptom, order, agent, and family are reported (Freire et al. 2002;Nair2010)
Pest Common name Order Family
Helopeltis antonii Tea mosquito bug Hemiptera Miridae
Acrocerpos syngramma Leaf miner Lepidoptera Gracillariidae
Lamida moncusalis Walker Leaf and blossom webber Lepidoptera Pyralidae
Orthaga exvinacea Hamps Leaf and blossom webber Lepidoptera Pyralidae
Plocaederus ferrugineus Stem and root borer Coleoptera Cerambycidae
Thylocoptila paurosema M. Apple and nut borer Lepidoptera Pyralidae
Nephopterix sp. Apple and nut borer Lepidoptera Pyralidae
Selenothrips rubrocinctus Foliage thrip Thysanoptera Thripidae
Retithrips syriacus Foliage thrip Thysanoptera Thripidae
Disease Symptom Agent Family
Anthracnose Blossom blight, leaf spotting, fruit staining Fungus Glomelleraceae
Powdery mildew Powdery growth leading to defoliation and failure of fruit Fungus Erysiphaceae
Phytophtora root rot Chlorosis, wilting, leaf drop Fungus Pythiaceae
Angular leaf spot Dark brown margin spots, defoliation of seedlings Fungus Mycosphaerellaceae
Cashew, from seed to market 761
concerns the extraction of the kernel from the shell. Difficul-
ties in shelling cashew nuts are due to the irregular shape of
the nut, the tough leathery outer shell, and the cashew nut shell
liquid within the shell that must not be allowed to contaminate
the nut during its removal nor compromise the health of the
operator. This process has been traditionally done manually,
which is still the case of small-scale processing firms, whereas
it has converted into mechanized operations in large-scale
processing plants. Regardless of the differences in the pro-
cessing systems currently available, there are five major steps
(Fig. 3), namely:
1. Preparation of the in-shell: this consists of a cleaning
phase to remove any impurity, followed by a calibration
grouping nuts of similar size that can be evenly processed
afterwards. When not performed manually, these opera-
tions involve the use of extractor fans and rotating cylin-
ders. Cashew nuts are then treated to increase the brittle-
ness of the shell and loosening of the kernel from the
shell. This is attained either by roasting, which would be
preceded by soaking or conditioning of the nuts to in-
crease their moisture content up to 15 to 25 % to prevent
scorching or by steam cooking. The former option is
widespread in Brazil in the form of oil bath roasting,
which maximizes the recovery of the cashew nut shell
liquid that is released at this stage but requires higher
equipment costs. The latter option is performed in Africa
and India. Nuts are treated in stationery or rotary steam
cooker for 1525 min at 0.755kgcm
2011; Mohod et al. 2010).
2. Removal of the shell: this is performed either by cracking
or manual or automatic cutting. Manual cutting coupled
with steam cooking has been found to give the highest
percentage of complete cut (up to 99 %). Manual cutting
has for long been the traditional method for removing the
shell by using a penknife, and it is still used in several
small-scale processing units. However, this method is
hazardous to the processor, since the cashew nut shell
Fig. 3 Snapshot of cashew nut
processing reporting: phases of
the processing flow (left column),
processing options reported in
literature (mid column), and
products and by-products
resulting from processing steps
(right column) (adapted from
Asogwa et al. (2008)and
Fitzpatrick (2011))
762 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
liquid oozes out of the shell onto the hands, thus consti-
tuting a health risk due to its caustic nature. Automatic
cutting is performed in highly automated plants by using a
shelling machine coupled with a mechanical conveyor.
3. Peeling: thisis the step required to remove the testa that is
made brittle and easy to peel by oven heating or roasting
the nuts. In West Africa, the oven air drying is followed by
a steam thermal shock performed in steam chambers.
Peeling is then done manually or by using peeling ma-
chines with compressors, often coupled with manual
finishing in order to increase the rate of fully peeled nuts
(Fitzpatrick 2011).
4. Grading: kernels are graded by size and sorted by color. It
is performed manually or automatically by machines such
as drum or roller graders that select whole nuts that are
commercially viable according to the international stan-
dards or broken pieces potentially suitable for domestic
5. Packing: kernels are cleaned with aspirators usually avail-
able also in small processing firms and packed by vacuum
packing and gas flushing in order to extend the shelf life
of the processed nuts (Fitzpatrick 2011).
A study commissioned by the African Cashew initia-
tive (Fitzpatrick 2011) that reports on a survey conducted
in Vietnam, India, Brazil, and six African countries,
namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, Tanzania,
and Mozambique portrayed deep differences among the
processing systems in use in such countries, which are
among the major cashew producers worldwide. Brazil, in
fact, has mainly large factories based on mechanized and
automated systems with high processing capacity. In In-
dia, small-scale firms mainly based on manual labor still
coexist with new upgraded plants. Vietnam has been
recently introducing new technologies, thus becoming
highly competitive against African producers. The Afri-
can framework, instead, revealed a certain uniformity in
the methods applied for processing, but a diverse situation
in terms of issues faced; whereas in East Africa, difficulty
in finding labor has led to the purchase of machines for
which there is no effective operational knowledge nor
technical support, in West Africa, the industry is mainly
based on manual labor-driven processing plants
(Fitzpatrick 2011).
Analysis of the consumption pattern of unit operations
in cashew nut processing depicts a varied situation. The
energy intensity of the whole processing chain has been
found to range from 0.21 to 3.80 MJ kg
, depending on
the level of mechanization and the quantity of kernels
being processed (Jekayinfa and Bamgboye 2006;Mohod
et al. 2010). The same studies confirm that the most
energy-demanding steps were the preparation of the in-
shell and the drying of the kernels, which together
accounted for up to 85 % of the total energy consumption.
The low efficiencies of the machinery, along with low
utilization of production capacity, were found to be the
major limits to energy efficiency of the processing plants,
regardless of the level of mechanization being implement-
ed, the scale of the plant, and the option chosen for the
pre-shelling preparation (Jekayinfa and Bamgboye 2006;
Mohod et al. 2010).
6.1.2 Cashew apple
The cashew apple has several uses and applications; its con-
sumption as processed is far more widespread than as a raw
fruit, which is restricted to South America. Its diffusion is
mainly due to its high content of vitamin C, since its juice is
fivefold richer than citrus and fourfold richer than sweet
orange (203.5 mg/100 ml of juice versus 33.7 and 54.7,
respectively) (Akinwale 2000). The sugar content was ob-
served to vary between 10 and 30 % (Azam-Ali and Judge
2001). Moreover, the apple contains a considerable level of
minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus. It also contains
small proportions of tannins (up to 0.35 %) that confer an
astringent flavor to the fruit (Nair 2010). Such a limitation is
overcome either by blending the cashew juice with others, as
mango, orange, and pineapple, that also serve to increase the
content of vitamin C (Akinwale 2000) or by processing the
fruit. With regard to this, different methods have been report-
ed, such as steaming, boiling in a 2 % salt solution, or treating
with gelatin (0.250.4 %) or pectin (0.35 %) (Nair 2010).
Cashew apple residues remaining after juice extraction are
nutritious since they contain 9 % protein, 4 % fat, 8 % crude
fiber, and almost 10 % pectin. Their use to manufacture
various products such as candies, jam, and drinks is wide-
spread, as well as cattle feed after drying (Nair 2010). Other
popular products obtained from cashew apple are cashew
vinegar, cashew apple candy and jam, canned apple, cashew
apple chutney, cashew pickles, and a wide variety of soft
drinks. Cashew juice is also fermented to produce liquor in
India, known as feni, having 40 % v/valcohol content. Wine
production from cashew apple was explored, to obtain a wine
characterized by low alcohol content (7 % v/v) and high tannin
content, resulting in an acidic taste that consumers did not
appreciate (Mohanty et al. 2006). Due to its high sugar con-
tent, cashew apple juice has been found to be suitable as a
source of reducing sugars for fermentative and enzymatic
processes aimed at producing lactic acid, dextrane, and oligo-
saccharides (Honorato et al. 2007; Silveira et al. 2012), as well
as for ethanol production (Pinheiro et al. 2008). Cashew apple
has also been traditionally consumed for its medicinal prop-
erties as it is thought to heal diarrhea and prevent cholera
(Azam-Ali and Judge 2001).
Cashew, from seed to market 763
6.2 By-products
6.2.1 Cashew nut shell liquid
Cashew nut shell liquid is the most important by-product
derived from cashew processing, due to its unique chemical
properties that make it a good source for unsaturated long
chain phenols (Tyman 1977; Quirino et al. 2014). The main
applications of the cashew nut shell liquid are in the polymer
industry, where it is used as a chemical compound in brake
linings, paints, varnishes, and surface coatings (Kumar et al.
2002). Compared to conventional phenolic resins, cashew nut
shell liquid-derived polymers offer greater flexibility resulting
in products easier to process, as well as an increased resistance
to weathering. Moreover, nut shell liquid-based resins provide
notable resistance to the softening action of mineral oils and a
high resistance to acids and alkalis. Other characteristics, such
as termite and insect resistance, make these resins suitable for
use in agriculture (Kumar et al. 2002), whereas the anti-
microbial properties extend their uses to the medical field
(Himejima and Kubo 1991). The wide applicability of cashew
nut shell liquid, as well as the economic feasibility of its
transformation for industrial purposes, suggests that this by-
product is a promising bio-based compound that could poten-
tially reduce the environmental impacts of the plastic and
composite industry, while maintaining economic competitive-
ness (Quirino et al. 2014).
The outer shell waste represents about 70 % of the raw nut
weight and contains up to 3035 % of nut shell liquid (Das
et al. 2004). There are several methods commonly used to
extract the nut shell liquid, the choice of which influences the
amount of oil that can be recovered, as well as its chemical
composition. In East Africa, for instance, the traditional meth-
od introduced from India for removing the nut shell liquid is
by roasting the nuts in drums or baths. Roasting in shallow
pans over an open charcoal fire and collecting the expelled
liquid results in yield of about 50 % of the total oil content
(Das et al. 2004). When nuts are roasted in a bath at a
temperature of 180 °C, the yield can be as high as 8590 %.
The hot oil process, based on a single layer of nuts passed for a
few minutes in cashew nut shell liquid at 187194 °C, coupled
with the pre-conditioning of the nuts, also provides an extrac-
tion yield up to 90 %. Other methods have been reported using
different solvents in solidliquid and spray-type processes at
lower temperatures (Das et al. 2004) and, more recently,
relying on supercritical carbon dioxide (Patel et al. 2006).
As previously mentioned, the composition of the cashew nut
shell liquid considerably varies depending on the extraction
method used (Table 3), with three major components being
present in different percentages: anacardic acid, cardanol, and
cardol (Tyman 1977)(Fig.4).
The so-called natural nut shell liquid, i.e., cold, solvent
extracted nut shell liquid, contains up to 90 % of anacardic
acid to which the medical properties of the material are attrib-
uted; it has 1020 % of cardol that is responsible for the
vesicant activity of the liquid and contains only a small
percentage of cardanol, if any (5 %). In the technical nut shell
liquid, i.e., the heat-extracted nut shell liquid, the heating
process leads to the decarboxylation of the anacardic acid to
form cardanol, which is of particular interest for its
polymerizable side chain and phenolic group. The typical
composition is then more than 50 % cardanol, 10 % cardol,
and 30 % other polymeric materials that are then removed by
distilling the extract. This further increases the cardanol con-
tent up to 78 % (Das et al. 2004; Lubi and Thachil 2000).
Normally, cashew nut shell liquid is refined by chemical
treatment with hydrocarbon sulfates and sulfuric acid before
industrial use to reduce sulfide, nitrogenous compounds, and
minerals, which also affects the quality of the nut shell liquid.
The treatment is generally performed by aqueous solutions of
acids that reduce the vesicant activity of the liquid, but also
treatments with amines were reported to reduce the content of
cardol (Lubi and Thachil 2000).
6.2.2 Cashew skin extract
Cashew kernel is covered with a reddish-brown skin, or testa,
that was reported to be rich in hydrolysable tannins, as well as
in polyphenols, for which the content can be as high as
243 mg/g of cashew skin extract. Such compounds, particu-
larly epicatechin, were found to possess significant antioxi-
dant properties, as proved by the scavenging activity of the
Tabl e 3 Physiochemical characteristics of cashew nut shell liquid, as
reported by Akinhanmi et al. (2008). Parameters commonly used for
analysis (left column) and range of values reported in literature (right
Parameter Value
Refractive index 1.6861.693
Specific gravity 0.9240.941
Viscosity (30 °C) (centripore) 4156
Moisture (%) 3.96.7
Ash (%) 1.21.3
Saponification value (mg KOH/g) 47.658.1
Iodine value (mg/100 g) 215235
Acid value (mg KOH/g) 12.115.4
Free fatty acid (mg KOH/g) 6.17.8
Fig. 4 General chemical structure of the main components of cashew nut
shell liquid, namely, acardol, banacardic acid, and ccardanol
764 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
cashew skin extract when tested in antioxidant assays
(Kamath and Rajini 2007). The same findings emerged from
studies that aimed to test cashew skin extract treatment against
dimethoate exposure. This widespread organophosphorous
pesticide was reported to cause hyperglycemia and pancreati-
tis, the latter likely due to oxidative stress (Banerjee et al.
2001). Treatment with cashew skin extract proved to amelio-
rate and restore tissue antioxidant status in rat pancreases, as
well as to confer normal glucose tolerance, thus indicating that
cashew skin may be a promising source for natural antioxi-
dants (Kamath et al. 2008).
6.2.3 Cashew shell cake
The residualshell cake after the removal of the nut shell liquid
is currently used as fuel in cashew processing factories, as well
as in-shell liquid extraction plants (Nair 2010): its calorific
value was found to be 17.8 MJ/kg, higher than sawdust and
cow dung (Mohod et al. 2008). However, its utilization is
limited due to its loose form, which releases acidic fumes
during combustion. Therefore, a mixture of cashew shell cake
with other waste materials was tested and was proven to be
successful with sawdust, cow dung, and wheat flour in differ-
ent proportions. It provided briquetted fuel with good energy
density ratio, low water absorption properties, shatter, and
durability indices, indicating good resistance to shock and so
increasing the ease of handling and transportation (Mohod
et al. 2008). Therefore, the utilization of cashew shell cake
as fuel is a promising option for enhancing the energetic self-
reliance of cashew processing plants due to its wide availabil-
ity and low cost.
6.2.4 Cashew bark
The bark of cashew trees has been traditionally used for its
medical properties, which have been extensively reported in
the literature. It is astringent and rich in tannins, which makes
it widely applicable for healing hypertension, gastric distur-
bances, and inflammations (Mota et al. 1985). It was also
proven to have bactericidal properties (Akinpelu 2001)and
hypoglycemic activity that gives the possibility of using bark
extract to treat diabetes mellitus (Alexander-Lindo et al.
2004). More recently, the cashew stem bark methanolic ex-
tract was proven to have anti-mutagenic effects, thus
preventing DNA damage against potentially mutagenic com-
pounds. However, such findings need to be investigated fur-
ther to clarify the potential use of cashew bark extract in
medicine (Barcelos et al. 2007).
6.3 Minor products
Apart from cashew kernel and the other major products and
by-products above-listed, there are some minor products that
constitute an added value for cashew production, often ob-
tained from low-grade cashew kernels and fruits: (i) cashew
kernel flour that is highly proteinaceous, often used as com-
plement of wheat flour; (ii) cashewkernel oil that is edible and
comparable to olive oil in terms of nutritional values; (iii)
cashew kernel butter that is derived from the residual of the
extraction of oil from the kernel, used as substitute of peanut
butter; and (iv) cashew kernel milk, obtained from cashew
broken kernels, also known as baby bits(Nair 2010).
7 International market and development
The world market for cashew is relatively new. Cashew, even
though traditionally produced and consumed for centuries,
started appearing on global markets toward the middle of the
1920s, with two major actors dominating the trade at that time:
India, which was the sole exporter of cashew kernels, and the
USA, being the only buyer (Harilal et al. 2006). The market
has since considerably changed, including the appearance of
other actors that created new poles on the cashew production
and trade scenario.
In 2011, world production ofcashew raw nuts reached 4.27
million tons (Fig. 5a), almost equally distributed between Asia
and Africa (Fig. 5b), with Vietnam being the first producer
accounting for about 30 % of the total production (Fig. 5a;
FAO 2013a). The major role played by Asia is also confirmed
by the presence of India, ranked third among the top five
world producers. Vietnam and India, even though character-
ized by different trends, with the former experiencing a sharp
rise in cashew production in the early 2000s and the second
showing a more regular growing pattern, have recently shown
similar trends due to their almost steady production volumes
over the last 5 years (1and9%,respectively;FAO2013a).
This is different from the case of Brazil that, apart from
accounting for the 99 % of cashew production of South
America in 2011, has had an irregular trend over recent years
due to cashew crop failures caused by periods of drought. The
same data also show the importance of West Africa in the
global scenario, with Nigeria and Ivory Coast accounting
together for the 79 % of the production of this area in 2011,
and display high growth rate of production volumes over the
last 5 years (+27 and +40 %, respectively; FAO 2013a).
Historically, the cashew international market has been
dominated by Eastern Africa and India. India, in particular,
was the first country to set up a processing industry, mainly
based on several small-scale firms relying on skilled labor.
Indian domestic production has long been unable to meet the
requirements of internal processing capacity, which consoli-
dated the liaison with Eastern African countries as Mozam-
bique, Kenya, and Tanzania as cashew suppliers (Azam-Ali
and Judge 2001; Harilal et al. 2006). This trade declined in the
Cashew, from seed to market 765
early 1980s when East African production reached low levels.
Exemplary is the case of Mozambique, once the leading world
producer, then facing the civil war and the progressive decline
of the sector, later only partially rejuvenated (Cramer 1999;
Hanlon 2000). As a consequence, Indian markets opened to
Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia. With
regard to this, it is important to note that in 2011, India was
the worlds primary importer of raw nuts, as well as the
primary exporter of processed nuts, mainly to the USA and
the European Union (Cashew Export Promotion Council of
India 2013). Other marketslike Japan and Russiahave
only opened up more recently (Harilal et al. 2006). While
the relevance of Eastern Africa was declining, Brazil emerged
as an important producer, encouraged by initial government
incentives mainly aimed at boosting cashew production for
both kernel and cashew nut shell liquid export to the USA
(Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). Similarly to Brazil, West Africa
has recently emerged on the international cashew market and
is expected to further develop and consolidate its role in the
global context, both in terms of production and export vol-
umes. A report published by USAID (Boillereau and Adam
2007) highlighted that less than 10 % of the raw nuts produced
in West Africa in 2006 were processed locally. This fact
reveals the potential for developing the local processing
industry to meet the internal demand for cashew derived
products and for diversifying exports from this region. The
current underdevelopment of cashew processing sector is
partially attributable to the limited domestic consumption as,
contrary to India and Vietnam, cashew is not a regular part of
the diet in any country in Africa. Furthermore, the market for
valuable cashew by-products such as cashew shell liquid is
non-existent in Africa (Boillereau and Adam 2007). In addi-
tion, apart from few countries such as Nigeria, Benin, and
Ivory Coast, in which production is mainly export-oriented
and based on mechanized processing plants, the majority of
firms in African countries are small to medium scale.
Their limited production capacities, which can be largely
attributed to the low level of technology in use, prevent
such countries from producing enough to meet both qual-
itative and quantitative standards for international trade
(Boillereau and Adam 2007).
Concerning cashew kernel prices on the international mar-
kets, the sector has shown a strong volatility over the last
decade. This is due to the fact that market for cashew is not
organized, meaning that there is no quotation for this product.
Hence, available data correspond to real transactions whose
significance, given the high rate of uncertainty, mainly lies in
their trend more than in the data itself. Overall, the price of
Fig. 5 a Cashew nut (with shell)
world production over the time
period 19922011 reporting the
2011 top five producers, namely,
Vietnam, Nigeria, India, Ivory
Coast, and Brazil, and the total
world production. bGeographic
distribution of cashew nut world
production in 2011 (FAO 2013a)
766 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
cashew kernels depends on several factors, among which the
supply of raw nuts plays a major role, which has considerably
fluctuated since 1999 (Horus Enterprises 2005). Focusing on
recent years, the increase of cashew kernel price in 2007 and
2008 was due to poor crops both in Brazil and Vietnam,
worsened by defaults of contracts and delays in shipment.
Such an increase was then followed by a fall due to the
reduced number of orders placed by importers, as influenced
by the global economic crisis. However, since the second half
of 2009, prices have been dramatically pushed up by an
increase of labor cost in India, as well as by the strong
competition between India and Vietnam to obtain raw nuts
from Africa. In 2011, a record price was reached, peaking at
4.87 USD/lb for white whole cashew kernel, considered to be
the benchmark grade. In 2011, the increase in prices halted,
likely affected by the political crisis in Ivory Coast that made
this major cashew supplier unattractive to foreign traders (CBI
2013). Since then, on the decreasing trend of cashew, price has
had a significant impact the behavior of market players that
prefer short-term buying, thus contributing to an increase in
the volume of stocks available. Should the processing capacity
of African producers significantly increase in the near future,
competition with India and Vietnam for raw nuts will become
stronger, probably leading again to an increase in prices.
Along with the processing capacity, global demand of cashew
products has played a crucial role in shaping cashew trade: the
analysis of the international scenario revealed an annual in-
crease in the demand for cashew kernel of about 9 % from
2001 to 2010, with a slight contraction in 2011 that persists to
this day (CBI 2013). It is interesting to note that such an
increase was mainly due to new rather than traditional con-
sumers, such as the USA and Europe, whose consumption has
been relatively stagnant (CBI 2013). Since the 1990s, China,
Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East have all emerged
as significant consumers, due to a greater awareness of nutri-
tional benefits of cashew nuts, as well as to the increased
purchasing power of their citizens. Another factor that am-
plifies the uncertainty of the cashew market is the interdepen-
dency with other similar markets, namely, almond, pistachio,
and macadamia, for which cashew is a substitute for to some
extent (Horus Enterprises 2005;CBI2013).
On the other hand, the high volatility of cashew kernel
price on the international markets is mirrored by the high
volatility of farm gate prices worldwide (Fig. 6), which are
affected by several factors among which both quantity and
quality of the harvest are the most important. This, in turn, is
the result of different, often unpredictable driving forces, such
as weather conditions and sociopolitical stability, which may
also result in high variability in both inter- and intra-
geographic areas. As an example, the above-mentioned polit-
ical unrest in Ivory Coast that started at the end of 2010 and
reached its peak in early 2011 likely contributed to the fall of
cashew producer price to almost 410 USD/t against the
average world price that year estimated around 1,390 USD/t
(FAO 2013c).
7.1 Implications for smallholder farmers
As it may be noted from the literature reported in this review,
cashew crop plays a significant role in the economy of some
emerging regions, with cashew kernel being considered a
high-value agricultural commodity. Interestingly, it shows an
atypical trend, in that international markets are expanding
rather than contracting (Azam-Ali and Judge 2001; Boillereau
and Adam 2007; Harilal et al. 2006). Such a pattern could be
positivelyexploited by promoting the sector within the frame-
work of strategies that aim to reduce poverty, based on in-
creasing and diversifying production and export. This is par-
ticularly true in light of the fact that, apart from few exceptions
as Brazil, whose cashew industry is based on large-scale
mechanized factories, the vast majority of producers and
processors worldwide are small or medium scale, with small-
holder farmers and processors playing a major role (Azam-Ali
and Judge 2001; Mole 2000). However, their production
capacities, on which their livelihood closely depends, are
severely hindered by several constraints that, though context
specific, are often common to many of them regardless of their
country. For example, the lack of strategic planning in the
inception phase has resulted in the development of scattered
small-scale activities rather than integrated systems
(Fitzpatrick 2011). Moreover, the lack of good planting mate-
rial due to the absence of proper breeding programs, coupled
with poor knowledge of pest control, soil husbandry, and
agronomic practices, has widely compromised the production
phase, resulting in generally poor yield. Such issues, whose
effects have been sometimes worsened by adverse weather
conditions, have for long not been compensated for by exten-
sion services, which have often been found to be inefficient
and responsible for inadequate farmer training (Martin et al.
1997;Nathanielsetal.2003). The scarcity of investments in
the cashew industry, especially in contexts considered unat-
tractive by foreign investors such as many African countries,
has also prevented the sector from innovating at an adequate
rate to keep pace with fast-changing markets (Fitzpatrick
2011). Recently, this trend has been counteracted, as demon-
strated by the growing interest of multinational corporations in
developing new entry markets, such as West Africa
(Boillereau and Adam 2007). However, the lack of knowledge
and support services has limited the positive impact of the
introduction of technologies in processing plants, especially in
contexts where there is a scarcity of available skilled labor,
like East Africa (Fitzpatrick 2011). This has resulted in the
usage of obsolete plants, often subject to water and power
supply problems, significantly impacting both quantity and
quality of cashew products. The low quality of cashew raw
nuts and kernels in turn negatively affects farm gateprices and
Cashew, from seed to market 767
reduces the profitability of the activities conducted by pro-
ducers and processors. In the African framework, the above-
mentioned constraints are further exacerbated by inefficient
distribution channels, resulting in high transport and packag-
ing costs that, along with the suboptimal sales and consump-
tion of broken nuts, limit the internal demand of cashew
products (Boillereau and Adam 2007).
While the scenario of cashew producers is becoming more
sophisticated with new actors coming up and competing with
each other in the south, market share has consolidated among
a few retailers and importers in the north. These retailers and
importers can capture considerable value by providing sec-
ondary stages of processing, such as roasting, salting, and
flavor addition. The location of value-addition and the
buyer-driven nature of the cashew nut supply chain have
negative implications for the wages and working conditions
of workers in developing countries. This relatively small
group of retailers and importers holds significant power in
determining both price and quality of cashew products. They
also indirectly determine labor conditions for suppliers and
producers that in turn transfer the burden of competition to
workers (Boillereau and Adam 2007). A survey conducted in
India and Mozambique revealed the trade unions were weak
in promoting workersrights and therefore depicted an imbal-
anced relationship between workers and employers (Kanji
2004). Moreover, the increased competition on the interna-
tional markets, leading to the liberalization of the cashew
employees into becoming informalworkers, with poor
wages and health-threatening working conditions. Such a
trend makes the quantification of workers engaged in cashew
industry particularly difficult. This is due to the fact that, apart
from employing informal laborers, small-scale industries are
frequently neither even registered nor surveyed. When data
are available, a clear trend emerges in the workforce compo-
sition. A notable share of the labor in the cashew sector
worldwide ismade up of women, who undertake various tasks
along the value chain (Kanji 2004). Quantifying women la-
borers is a more difficult task than for men, as they usually
accept more insecure working conditions for lower wages.
This is partly due to the more limited choices they face and
partly due to different societal expectations of what is accept-
able for women and men. In the late 1970s, women were
reported to make up half the workforce in Mozambique that,
at the time, was one of the main cashew producers in the world
(Azam-Ali and Judge 2001). Figures from India are even more
explicative in this sense, as in the state of Kerala, that has the
largest processing capacity in the country women were found
to be the 95 % of the 500,000 workers surveyed in the 1990s
(Nayar 1995). Such data was later confirmed by Kanji (2004)
reporting about 400,000 women workers in the cashew indus-
try in the same area. Despite their relevance in the sector,
women are often unprotected by labor legislation, resulting
in inequalities such as lower wages, exclusion from technol-
ogy application, less bargaining power, and worse work envi-
ronments, sometimes to the point of affecting their reproduc-
tive health (Kanji 2004). However, small-scale projects rely-
ing on the cooperation of governments, private sector, and
nongovernmental organizations have had a positive impact on
employment and labor conditions, which highlights the need
for joint actions to support smallholders and, among them, the
most vulnerable groups (Kanji 2004).
8 Conclusions
Cashew is a crop of major interest in the global scenario,
which has been expanding in international markets over recent
decades. Interestingly, among the main producers of cashew,
there are emerging countries whose economy significantly
relies on the cashew industry. Even though the industry varies
Fig. 6 Farm gate prices for
cashew nuts (with shell) reported
for the most important producers
grouped in geographic areas with
respect to the world average (FAO
768 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
significantly between countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin
America, these countries are similar, since both production
and processing are generally carried out by smallholder
farmers that constitute the core of the cashew sector. In light
of this, cashew is to be considered a key crop that could
potentially enhance the development of local communities
by supporting their livelihood and by empowering the most
vulnerable groups involved in cashew production.
This review of the state of the art of cashew produc-
tive chain, which took into consideration the entire
production system from seed to table,depicted a
scattered research framework for which a wide range
of studies does exist, albeit generally applied to specific
local contexts. This fact, as well as making a critical
review difficult due to the different and not always
well-explained backgrounds, reveals the absence of sys-
tematic information exchanges for comparative analysis
that can share knowledge about this crop. Such short-
comings call for academic institutions and research bod-
ies to collaborate on integrated research programs,
where genetic breeding projects should be of central
The present review also critically analyzed and sum-
marized the plethora of agricultural practices, processing
methods, and uses of products and by-products derived
from cashew. This highlighted the major constraints
limiting the development of the sector, with a particular
emphasis on those affecting smallholder farmers and
processors. In particular, farmers have difficult access
to good planting material and training, resulting in a
scarce knowledge on soil management, agronomic prac-
tices, and pest control and which in turn often leads to
poor yield. Extension services that should address the
main issues encountered by farmers have often been
found to be absent or inefficient. In addition, the ad-
vantages brought on by innovation often bypass small-
scale farmers and processors, as they experience signif-
icant difficulties in accessing technologies and related
training. What is more, local producers and processors
are subjected to the pressure of buyers importing to the
north, whereas new consumers such as China, Russia,
Japan, and the Middle East are joining historical actors
such as Europe and the USA. This group of retailers
and importers has the power to determine price, quality,
and delivery of the products to comply with their stan-
dards for food imports, thus limiting access to markets
for smaller and less organized cashew producers. The
emergence of new actors in the international markets,
resulting in a higher competition among producers, has
been leading to the liberalization of the cashew sector
that has resulted in an increasing number of workers
becoming informal.This trend, apart from making
quantification of laborers in the cashew industry
difficult, has caused workers to be unprotected by labor
legislation while receiving low wages and being subject
to health-threatening working conditions. In this frame-
work, women that make up the majority of the work-
force in the cashew industry are more severely impacted
than men, as they often experience inequalities due to
gender issues.
Therefore, more research should be carried out to thor-
oughly understand the governance of cashew nut produc-
tion chain, with the aim of identifying the linkages be-
tween its nodes and the distribution of gains along it.
Such analysis should be conducted acknowledging the
fact that given the nature of the cashew production sys-
tem, local value chain analysis has to be combined with
contextualized livelihood analysis.
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772 B. Dendena, S. Corsi
... This finding is in line with Dorr [15], who stated that the trading process in Brazil involves the producer selling their nuts individually. Dendena and Corsi [16] similarly highlighted that a few retailers and importers have consolidated the cashew market in Brazil and as such have negative implications for the wages and working conditions of workers in developing countries. The findings of, Agada et al. [17], however differed from this opinion, in their study they found out that most cashew farmers sell their nuts to retailers at nearby markets, while others sell theirs to wholesalers and just a few of them sell their nuts at their farm gates and bulk assemblers. ...
... This implies that farmers with small orchards and plantations are likely to be employed in bigger plantations as collectors of raw cashew nuts and are paid based on the agreed wages, which is usually in raw cashew nuts. This finding is similar to that of Dendena and Corsi [16] who highlighted that a few retailers and importers have consolidated the cashew market in Brazil and as such have negative implications for the wages and working conditions of workers in developing countries. ...
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This study examined the effect of market channels and prices on the income and livelihood of cashew farmers in Kombo South District of The Gambia. The objectives of the study were to ascertain include the types of market channels and their impacts on the income and livelihood of cashew farmers. A sample of 384 cashew famers was selected from Kombo South District using Taro Yamane formula. The findings of the study revealed that the main actors in the cashew market channels were wholesalers and retailers who serve as middlemen and they impose prices on the farmers. The findings also indicated that majority of the farmers sold their raw cashew nuts at a low price in 2020 than the previous year. The findings indicate that highlighted that market channels dictate prices and therefore affect the income and livelihoods of farmers, and also cause loss of jobs in plantations. The study therefore recommended that Cashew farmers should form cooperative societies as this will be the easiest channel through which their predicaments can be heard, and other benefits such as insecticides, fertilizers, soft loans and even grants can be Original Research Article Gomez et al.; JEAI, 44(9): 51-60, 2022; Article no.JEAI.86185 52 accessed. The government should assist farmers in seasons where international prices are very low to prevent poverty and hunger and value addition in cashew nuts should be a priority especially with Food Technology Services (FTS) of the Department of Agriculture (DoA).
... Linking social risk to country of origin without distinguishing between specific crop production practices eliminates some nuance between production and harvest practices, such as greater exposure to harmful chemicals used more frequently in one crop than another or different risks present in manual labor or machinery operation. For instance, cashew processing can be laborintensive and hazardous due to the risk of injury from cutting or from skin damage from the acidic cashew shell nut liquid (Dendena and Corsi 2014), but different social risks can be present if harvest is mostly mechanized (e.g., peanuts) or by hand (e.g., Brazil nuts). Examining pesticide and machinery inputs for a specific nut using LCA inventory data and extrapolating the relative risks based on the degree of mechanization or degree of pesticide use, informed by S-LCA impact pathways (United Nations Environment Programme 2020, p. 95), could improve this method. ...
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Nuts are considered an important protein source in sustainable dietary patterns but are seldom studied in detail. Here a multi-criteria decision analysis was used to rank 10 nuts and seeds against 11 environmental, nutritional, and social criteria and provide greater insight into the sustainability impacts of this food group. Weights were defined based on correlation and variance between indicator values, and values were aggregated with a partially non-compensatory method. Several sensitivity analyses tested various sources of uncertainty through the use of country-level data, the use of a fully compensatory aggregation method, and changes to criteria weights. Walnuts and sunflower seeds performed consistently well across sustainability criteria and were ranked in the top two positions in the baseline assessment and most sensitivity analyses. In contrast, cashews performed relatively poorly across most criteria, and were ranked last. Dietary shifts in favor of more sustainable nuts can improve the overall environmental, nutritional and social impacts of nut production and consumption by an average of 23%. Although increasing consumption of walnuts and sunflower seeds may lead to improved sustainability outcomes for total global nut consumption, more research is needed to deepen the understanding of the complex socio-economic factors impacting nut and seed sustainability. The social risk assessment method used in this study can also inform future social impact measurement methods for other food groups.
... In spite of the high potential of cashew in alleviating poverty and boosting rural development in developing countries, the cultivation of the crop is constrained by low nut yield and these have been attributed to the prolonged dry spells, high temperatures and declining soil fertility levels (Adu-Gyamfi et al. 2019). Cashew requires an annual rainfall range of 1000-2000 mm (Dedzoe et al. 2001;Sys et al. 1993) Communicated by: Ray Ming and a temperature range of 25-28 ℃ (Dendena and Corsi 2014) with a pronounced dry period of 5-6 months (Dedzoe et al. 2001) for optimum productivity. It grows best on well drained, deep, light to medium textured soils (Dedzoe et al. 2001) with a pH range of 4.5-6.5. ...
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Flowering is one of the most critical determinants of nut tree crop yield and flower sex types that are predictive of high yields are needed to enhance the effectiveness of cashew varietal development. Under tropical and subtropical climates, cashew flowering coincides with the annual drought and could be affected by high moisture and temperature stress. The genotype × environment interaction effects on flower sex type expression of cashew has never been explored. Our current study employed a multi-environment trial established in two contrasting agro-ecological zones to elucidate the effects of genotype and environment on male, hermaphrodite and sterile flower sex type expression. Our results showed that most of the variability found were largely due to environmental influence (˃80%) and hermaphrodite and sterile flower sex types were the most sensitive. Male, hermaphrodite and sterile flower numbers ranged from 61.6–107.1, 5.6–38.7 and 1.5–14.4 per panicle respectively. The GGE Biplot model employed to analyze the interaction showed that clones SG004, SB9 and KT1 were stable for all the flower sex types. Clones that gave high number of male and hermaphrodite flowers had higher yields in suboptimal environments whereas in near optimal environments, clones that gave low number of sterile flowers had high yields. While our study highlights the benefit of employing a multi-environment trial to identify cashew clones with superior flowering characteristics to face future variability of environmental conditions attributed to global warming, the effectiveness of cashew flower sex type in predicting nut yield could vary with prevailing environmental conditions.
... The calcium in the cashew apple helps in joints and bone wellness. The copper consisting in cashew apple helps in flexibility of blood vessel and increasing in oxygen carrying capacity (Dendena and Stefano, 2014). Cashew apple is also known for its antioxidant property and oral cleanser, it maintains oral freshness, strengthen the gum and overall dental health. ...
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Cashewnut is a versatile crop possess different medicinal properties. Nuts are used for several medicinal purposes and have great importance related to health as well as apples are used for fresh consumption, making pickles, preserves, chutneys and fermented and non-fermented beverages. Cashew apple juice has health benefits such as relief from chronic dysentery, sore throat, bone demineralization, rheumatism, neuralgia, boosts energy, facilitates the flexibility of blood vessels, good for weight loss due to presence of sugars, tannins, phenols, amino acids, ascorbic acid, minerals and fibre. Cashewnut shell liquid contains a mixture of products including anacardic acid, cardanol, cardol and 2-methylcardol. Cashew apple and nuts can be utilized commercially for processing however its potential is still demeaned in Indian economy.
... Cashew as an export crop, its farming does not always translate into higher outputs per hectare in most developing countries. The comparatively limited productivity per hectare has been attributed to a number of constraints pertaining to different farming stages and to the technologies applied (Nyambo & Ligate, 2012;Dendena & Corsi, 2014). Pests and diseases are among the factors affecting the crop at different stages of the production cycle. ...
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This study investigated the effects of cashew pests and diseases at different production stages and the strategies adopted to deal with the pests and diseases. In the effort to answer the research question, the study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data were collected using focus group discussions, interviews with key respondents, observations and a structured questionnaire completed by 120 cashew farmers in Tunduru district. Secondary data were obtained from written documents such as books and journal articles. It was revealed that cashew pests and diseases were very common during the flowering and leaf-shading stages of the cashew production cycle. The farmers used various methods to deal with the pests and diseases, including traditional methods like pruning and firing. The study recommends that more training in the right and sustainable methods of controlling cashew pests and diseases should be provided to cashew growers.
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Agricultural commodity production constitutes an important livelihood source for farmers but significantly contributes to tropical deforestation and biodiversity loss. While the socioecological effects of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, cocoa and coffee are well studied, the effects for commodities such as cashew ( Anacardium occidentale ) have received less attention. Global cultivated area for cashew increased rapidly from 526,250 ha in 1980 to ~5.9 million ha in 2018. India is the world’s second largest cashew producer, with cashew farms often occurring adjacent to remnant forests. To mitigate deforestation for cashew expansion, it is necessary to understand present-day land use policies and management practices that drive this expansion. Through semi-structured interviews (n = 65) and a literature review on agricultural policies in India, we evaluated the role of state-led land use policies in cashew expansion and characterised present-day cashew farming systems in the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg landscape in India. Agricultural subsidies introduced from 1980s to 1990s encouraged cultivar cashew expansion and influenced land use conversion from rice and privately owned forest to cashew. Farmers preferred cultivar cashew as they produced higher yields faster, although they required more agrochemical inputs and were susceptible to pests and wildlife depredation. About 80% of farmers had planted cashew farms by clearing forests in the past 30 years and expressed interest to continue the same. Farmers avoided applying for government-sponsored compensation for crop losses due to wildlife depredation and chose instead to expand cultivar cashew into forested areas. Our study deepens the understanding of how government-led agricultural subsidies drive farmers’ uptake of cashew cultivars, farmers’ cashew management practices, and how these factors drive deforestation in this landscape at the state and farm level. We recommend further research with equitable stakeholder participation in cashew farming systems to devise sound planning for forest conservation and sustainability standards for the cashew industry.
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is an important tropical nut crop of social and economic importance worldwide. The appropriate harvest time is one of the important factors affecting quality of cashew nut. Moreover, the maturity period (full bloom to nut maturity) also differs among individual cashew cultivars. Hence, the present study was conducted to determine the appropriate maturity indices for harvesting of cashew cultivars. Among studied varieties, Dhana, Kanaka, Ullal-2, Ullal-3, VTH 30/4, VTH-174, Vengurla-1, Vengurla-3 and Vengurla-4 reached early nut maturity at about 63 days whereas, Bhaskara, Ullal-1 and VRI-3 took 70 days. At fully mature stage, moisture content of nut and germination percentage was positively correlated. Higher moisture content (13.8%) exhibited higher germination percentage (90.4%) in Bhaskara. Apple maturation duration also varied significantly among studied varieties. Bhaskara took 66 days; Ullal-1 and VRI-3 took 65 days; Dhana, Kanaka, Ullal-3, VTH-30/4, Vengurla-1, Vengurla-3 and Vengurla-4 took 63 days whereas Ullal-2 and VTH-174 took 62 and 60 days. Higher cashew apple juice recovery was observed in Ullal-2 (81.1%) and steady decrease was observed in Bhaskara (67.6%) at fully ripe stage. Total soluble solid (TSS) values also increased significantly in VTH-174 (15.5° Brix) at ripening stage. Further, organoleptic test indicated the sweetness character of cashew apple of VTH-174. This study emphasises the different maturity indices for determining the optimum harvest time of cashew. Further, fully ripening stage with higher juice yield and TSS and maximum palatability could be preferred harvesting stage for obtaining superior cashew apples.
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Income maximization from cashew products and proper utilization of resources has significantly evolved in Amoma, as a result of cashew diversification with food crops. The study was conducted to assess the perceptions of farmers on integrating cashew with food crops. The study aimed to identify the type of food crops intercropped with cashew, as well as reasons and its associated challenges. A total of 83 respondents were purposively sampled from four communities (Asesase, Kukuroase, Tutuoase and Afapemu). The results indicated that all farmers had knowledge on food crops integration with cashew. Amongst the food crops cultivated with cashew include yam, maize, cassava and groundnut. Reasons stated for integration of food crops include weed control, subsistence use and also financial safety nets. Farmers’ major challenge was financial and also weeds control on their farm. The study concluded that yam was the commonest intercrop of cashew followed maize. Key challenges encountered by farmers were weed invasion and inadequate disposable cash for maintenance practices, such pruning and weeding. In pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty) and 2 (Zero Hunger), the study recommends that farmers be trained on proper food crop integration methods at Amoma to boost yield, financial stability and enhance living conditions
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Multivariate analyses were carried out on fifty-nine germplasm accessions of cashew derived from both local and exotic populations established at the research plots of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria, to assess the extent of variability and pattern of genetic diversity among these cashew populations. Data collected on 36 quantitative and 33 qualitative plant characters were subjected to taximetric tools of Euclidean distance of complete linkage (furthest neighbour) and principal component analysis (PCA). The multivariate analyses tentatively grouped the selections into four distinct morphogenetically diverse clusters. The groupings appear to be a function of origin, eco-geographical distribution, genetic and/or agronomic affinity of the selections. Brazilian populations distinctly clustered together in two major groups while local clones and Indian selections dominated the other two major clusters with each group having its unique fruiting and tree growth habits. The clustering pattern at sub-cluster levels clearly reflects affinity of each genetic population. The principal component analysis and the potency indices showed that fruit characters are the most discriminating parameters for delineating cashew at the varietal level.
Major tree crops contribute substantially to the economy of many developing countries on the Asian, African and Latin American continents. For example, coffee is the main revenue earner for Kenya. This book provides a comprehensive review of the agronomy, botany, taxonomy, genetics, chemistry, economics, and future global prospects of a range of crops that have great food, industrial and economic value such as cocoa, coffee, cashew, oil palm and natural rubber. Discusses the major tree crops of great economic value to the developing world The author is an eminent scientist who has won numerous awards for his work in this area.
The effects of sulphate of ammonia and cowdung application on the growth of young cashew ( Anacardium occidentale ) seedlings within mature sheanut stands were studied in two field experiments in the savanna ecological zone of northern Ghana. A basal application of 22 and 21 g/plant of muriate of potash and triple superphosphate, and in addition to application of sulphate of ammonia at the rate of 0.70, and 140 g/plant significantly (P Ameliorant la croissance des semis d'anacardier ( Anacardium occidentale ) plantes entre les lignes des parcelles de karite mur au nord du Ghana Resume Les effets de sulfate d'ammonium et d'application de bouse de vache sur la croissance des semis jeunes d'anacardier ( Anacardium occidentale ) entre les parcelles de karite etaient etudies dans deux experiences de champ dans la zone ecologique de la savane au nord du Ghana. Une application basale de 22 et 21 g/plante de muriate de potasse et triple superphosphate et en plus d'application de sulfate d'ammonium a une proportion de 0, 70, et 140 g/plante augmentaient considerablement (P Ghana Jnl agric. Sci. Vol.33(2) 2004: 159-164
The effect of age on the survival and growth of transplanted cashew seedlings was studied in the savanna ecological zone of northern Ghana in three field experiments. The seedling ages studied varied between 1.5 and 4.5 months after sowing. Seedling age significantly affected the survival of cashew seedlings one year after transplanting in two experiments with seedlings of between 1.5 and 2 months old establishing better than the older seedlings ages. Neither the growth of seedlings nor the proportion of plants that flowered two years after transplanting was significantly affected by seedling age at transplanting. A recommendation on the optimum period for raising cashew seedlings for transplanting in northern Ghana is given.
In 2-ha plots of mature Anacardium occidentale trees in farmers' fields, cashew production showed large variations in relation to local tree density and canopy ground cover ratio (CGCR). Maximum cashew production usually occurred between tree densities equivalent to 40-80 trees ha -1 but at one site where trees were small it occurred at 120 trees ha -1. Below a CGCR of 0.4, cashew production was low and was usually at a maximum between 0.5 and 0.6. Individual tree yields were highly variable. The productivity of smallholder cashew farms may be improved by a combination of selective thinning of poor yielding trees and planting available spaces with improved material.