Integrated_cashew_practices_in_Asia by stariya


                                      Minas K. Papademetriou
                                         Edward M. Herath

REGIONAL          OFFICE        FOR        ASIA        AND        THE        PACIFIC
This publication brings together edited manuscripts of papers presented at the Expert
Consultation on “Integrated Production Practices in Cashew in Asia”, held in
Bangkok, Thailand, 7-9 October 1997. The Consultation was organized and sponsored
by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The Report of the Consultation
was brought out in December 1997 (FAO/RAP Publication: 1998/12).

The designation and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any
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 concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the
                              delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not imply any opinion
                                 whatsoever on the part of the FAO.

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                                         Printed in July 1998
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Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS - M.K. Papademetriou

2. WELCOME ADDRESS - Soetatwo Hadiwigeno

Liang Shibang and Deng Suisheng



Maung Lay

Concepcion A.E. Magboo




   1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS - M.K. Papademetriou[1]
Mostly grown as a cash crop on marginal and degraded lands, the cashew has carved a
special niche in the cropping systems of many Asian countries. Land that has been mostly
found unsuitable or somewhat less favorable for other crops, has been successfully utilized
for producing a highly preferred food commodity for international trade.

Eight major tree nuts of the world may be listed in the order of their importance in terms of
production and consumption. These are almond, filbert, cashew, walnut, pecan, Brazil nut,
pistachio and macadamia. Cashew, Brazil nut and macadamia are highly valued nut crops
adapted to the tropics. The rest have different climatic requirements and are produced in the
sub-tropics and temperate zones.

Cashew is grown to a sizable extent in Asia and appears to have a good potential for further
development in this region. It presents a diversification option for arid, marginal and sloping
areas, specifically for small farmers in such constrained environments. The cashew nut is an
important ingredient in the snack food market as well as in the confectionery industry. Apart
from this, its development is increasingly being regarded as a means of improving food
security and nutrition in many countries. Besides being nutritious, it is low in perishability and
highly marketable. Furthermore, the cashew tree could play a significant role in soil
conservation by preventing soil erosion from wind and rain in environmentally vulnerable
areas. The management of the crop also demands less time, labor and inputs as compared
to other tree crops. Its potential, both agriculturally and economically, has yet to be fully
realized since most national research systems of cashew growing countries have devoted
much less effort on research and development for this crop. In addition, application of crop
management practices and inputs have always been in favor of other crops, without fully
realizing its true potential.

There is more or less a broad consensus among the cashew specialists in the region that the
current performance of cashew growing enterprises is far below the inherent potential of the
crop. Productivity levels reported from many countries leave much to be desired. There are
wide disparities between actual yields obtained by the production sector and yields obtained
by researchers and in extension demonstrations. The main reason attributed to this situation
is the apparent neglect and low management levels applied to the crop. Crop husbandry
practices are either absent or poorly applied. It has been demonstrated that good yields can
be realized only from well managed plantations, although the crop can survive under
marginal conditions. Another factor that contributes to better performance is the use of
vegetatively propagated plants of high performance clones. Efforts are, therefore, needed to
narrow the gap between actual yields and potential yields. I am confident that with the
application of modern agro-techniques and use of superior germplasm, production and
productivity can be substantially increased.

Inter-country cooperation could be very helpful in achieving this common goal. Strengthening
cooperation among countries, institutions and individual scientists in production development
activities is important. A forum like this will provide us the opportunity to interact and
exchange our expertise, and explore the possibilities of sharing acquired knowledge on the
crop for mutual benefit. It is in this context that this consultation has been convened.

[1] Senior Plant Production and Protection Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand
       2. WELCOME ADDRESS - Soetatwo Hadiwigeno[2]
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to the Expert Consultation on Integrated
Production Practices in Cashew in Asia. May I take this opportunity to extend to all of you
warm greetings on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, from my colleagues in the
Regional Office and myself.

I am happy to see the positive response which we have received from the cashew experts in
Asia. Considering the importance of this tree nut crop in the economy of Asian countries and
the need for inter - country cooperation on problems of common interest, we have decided to
hold this Expert Consultation in order to elaborate on integrated production practices for the
crop, which if properly applied can increase substantially the production and productivity of
cashew in Asia. While appreciating your response to our invitation, I hope that this meeting
will prove to be productive and beneficial for all the participating countries.

Cashew has very good adaptability to a wide range of soils, from hard laterite to red sandy
loams and sandy soils. In 1970, Africa was the largest producer accounting for 78 percent of
world production, which subsequently had declined to 30.14 percent by 1996. The production
in Asia during the same period increased from 15 percent to 46.45 percent, with the major
producers being India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

It is estimated that the current area under cashew in the world is about 1.12 million ha with a
production of about 700,000 metric tons of raw nuts. Out of the total kernel production in the
world, 110,000 metric tons enter into the world export trade while the balance is consumed in
the emerging markets of producing countries, especially in India. Brazil and India together
account for over 91 percent of the world exports while African exports are estimated to be
around 0.5 percent only. Five of the major markets, namely, USA, Netherlands, Germany,
Japan and UK account for 82 percent of imports. It is estimated that about 60 percent of the
exported nuts is consumed in the form of kernels while the other 40 percent is used in the
confectionery industry. The outlook indicates a 5 percent annual increase in exports in the
years to come and the demand is expected to increase both in the traditional markets of USA
and Europe and also in the developing markets of Asia.

Another important product from the cashew industry is the Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL),
which can be extracted from the shells either by a centrifugal method or by using solvents
and crushing plants. The major producer of CNSL is Brazil, followed by India and
Mozambique. Brazil meets 60 percent of the world demand. A bright future for both kernel
and CNSL is foreseen in world trade. There is, therefore, much scope for increasing the
production of raw cashew nuts in many tropical countries, especially in Asia.

In nutritive value, cashew compares well with the other tree nuts, and in the new version of
the traditional Mediterranean diet pyramid developed by the World Health Organization, tree
nuts including cashew, are placed at the base of the pyramid encouraging daily consumption.
Cashew kernels contain 50 percent fat, of which 82 percent is unsaturated fatty acids free
from cholesterol. The nutritive features of the cashew nut should enhance the international
demand and make the crop more attractive for farmers in developing countries.

As mentioned earlier, the very wide adaptability of cashew trees to a variety of soil types and
their hardy nature relegated the crop in many countries for soil conservation purposes as well
as for forestry programs. As a crop, it is primarily grown in small holdings and in homesteads.
Till recently, it was considered as a crop which does not require much attention and was
grown under neglected conditions in many countries. However, research conducted in India,
Australia, African countries and Brazil has clearly indicated the responsiveness of the crop to
improved technologies. Cashew is predominantly a cross - pollinated crop and therefore,
plantations raised from seed are highly heterogeneous and exhibit considerable variability in
growth habits and in bearing behavior.

The first step to increase production and productivity of cashew would be to identify superior
varieties which have a high market demand and are suitable for different cashew growing
environments in each country. The data available strongly suggests that regionalization of
the germplasm is very important in increasing cashew production. The benefit of these
improved varieties can only be realized if we can dispense with the seed propagation method
and resort to vegetative propagation. I understand that in recent years considerable progress
has been made in the standardization of vegetative propagation in cashew and we will be
looking forward to the information on the progress made in different countries on this aspect.
While it is a well known fact that although many of the small holdings and homestead
plantings do not receive adequate attention in nutrient management, cashew does respond
well to fertilizer application, especially organic fertilizers. It will be appropriate to identify
technologies that are most cost-effective in small holdings. Similarly, plant protection is an
important component of the crop management program. In order to develop an eco-friendly
package however, it will be necessary to reduce dependence on chemical control methods
and to switch over to integrated pest management practices. Other cultural practices such as
training and pruning of young trees, weeding, mulching, supplementary irrigation as well as
rejuvenation of old and unproductive trees can play a significant role in increasing the
production and productivity of the crop. I am sure that all these production issues ranging
from land suitability surveys, identification of outstanding varieties, planting material
production, cultivation practices up to post-harvest activities will be adequately deliberated
during this consultation and some useful conclusions and recommendations will emerge.

Development of the cashew industry in Asia will require a concerted effort on the part of
governments and growers of each country. Collaboration between countries of the region is
very important and could be rewarding. In view of the commonality of problems and issues,
sharing of information and experience on various aspects of cashew production could lead to
quicker and more remunerative results.

Distinguished participants, we in FAO, and myself do look forward to your advice and
guidance concerning an appropriate strategy for the development of the cashew industry in
the region. I can assure you of our full support to your efforts.

I wish you success in your present endeavor and a very pleasant stay in Bangkok.

[2] Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific,
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.
 CHINA - Liu Kangde, Liang Shibang and Deng Suisheng[3]

China has a cashew cultivation history of about 60 years. The total land area under cashew
increased to 13,000 ha in 1979 and has since declined to the present 8,327 ha, which is
mainly confined to the coastal areas of the south and southwest Hainan. The soils are poor
and infertile in these areas with long dry spells in winter and spring and are generally
considered unsuitable for the cultivation of other tropical food crops without irrigation. The
cashew trees, however, grow well under such conditions.

The overwhelming majority of cashew trees in the orchards of Hainan are of seedling origin
and hence low yielding. Some of the orchards have been forced to be abandoned due to
poor management. Most of the orchards produce an average yield of around 212 kg/ha even
if they have reached the age of maximum yield potential. The cashew nut has a low rating as
a farm product and its contribution to the gross national product in economic terms is

It is only since 1977 that a research group led by Prof. Jiang Shibang of the Chinese
Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, successfully developed cashew budding
techniques and launched a research programme on selection and breeding of high yielding
clones as well as introduced rejuvenation practices for low yielding cashew plantations.
Growing of cashew is at present listed in the poverty-alleviation programmes to be re-
initiated as extension activities in the resource-poor coastal areas in the south and southwest
areas of the Hainan island. In addition to its economic value as a crop, the cashew can be
used in afforestation programmes to stabilize sandy coastal areas from erosion and help to
bring about ecological benefits. Grant aid was given by the European Community for the
development of the cashew industry from 1985-1990, through which systematic research
was carried out on cashew production technology in Hainan island. These efforts have
helped in promoting cashew production in Hainan. Current research is concentrating on
breeding and selection of cold resistant clones/seedlings for different micro-climatic zones of
North Hainan, Gejiu and Yingjian in Yunnan province.

2.1 Production Areas Under Cashew

Major cashew producing areas are distributed in the coastal areas of Ledong Lingshui,
Dongfang and Sanya of Hainan Province. Scattered cultivations are also found in Wanning
and Wenchang of Hainan and trial plantings in Xishuangbanna and Gejui in Yunnan
Province. According to the 1996 statistics, the total area under cashew is estimated at 8,327
ha of which 5,780 ha are in production. Ledong county in Hainan has the largest area under
the crop with 4,460 ha, accounting for 54 % of the national production followed by
Changjiang, Dongfang and Lingshui, Hainan Province (Table 1).

Table 1. Cashew Production Statistics
        Hainan Province                  Ledong County                     Dongfang
Year Area Harvest Production        Area Harvest Production Area         Harvest Production
     (ha)   Extent      (tons)      (ha)  Extent    (tons)  (ha)         Extent     (tons)
             (ha)                          (ha)                           (ha)
1986 9127      -          819       4920     -        393   827           373         183
1987 9400    6027         712       4974   4174       415   580           307          36
1988   11,593    5993        632     5147      4140      369      1040    333           38
1989   10,427      -         863     4320        -       582       767     -            47
1990    9773     5273        552     4247      3607      258       780    310           45
1991    9667     5393        567     4320      3554      274       773    427           77
1992    9807     5327        608     4440      3627      258       927    393          129
1993    9613     5127        835     4307      3273      435       973    487          139
1994    9627     4767        918     4440      2887      500      1067    527          104
1995    8787       -         960     4454        -       498      1147    493          137
1996    8327     5780       1224     4460      3360      534      1187    633          353
           Chanjiang County                 Lingshui County              Sanyan City
1986     227      140         20     2433        -       214      240      -           7.3
1987     700      327         23     2553      1140      224      313      -            13
1988    2347      193         27     2360      1127      185      247      -            10
1989    2227      200         16     2347        -       181      260      -            24
1990    2200      207         15     2273      1007      174      253      -            60
1991    2133      207         16     2213      1040      107      160      -            82
1992    2167      213         21     2033       953      110      153      -            89
1993    2233      267         30     1893       887      113      140      -            93
1994    2073      300         87     1827       893      105       -       -             2
1995    1760      307         98     1207        -       100      133      -           101
1996    1360      967        149     1107       653       79      127      -           100
Source: Tropical Crops Division of the Agriculture Department of Hainan rovince, Bureaus of
Statistics and Tropical Crops.

2.2 Varieties Grown
Cashew varieties grown in China belong only to the species of Anacardium occidentale L;
eighteen types are classified according to color (red, yellow, variegated), shape (round,
oblong, pyriform) of the cashew-apple and height (tall and dwarf), and these can be further
classified into 54 types based on the size and shape of the nut.

Screening of cashew germplasm was initiated in the latter part of the 1970s, and 5 superior
accessions of germplasm were accepted for national release in July 1990, which were
introduced to the production system for commercial cultivation. The 5 selections are as

        GA-63: Early flowering with medium nut size and a yield potential of kg/ha at the age
         of 5 years;
        HL2-13: Protracted flowering phase with medium nut size and a yield potential of
         1332 kg/ha at the age of 5 years;
        HL2-21: Late flowering, dwarf in tree size, wind resistant with large nut size and a
         yield potential of 1341 kg/ha at the age of 5 years;
        FL-30: Long and extended full-bloom stage with large-sized nuts and a yield potential
         of 861 kg/ha at the age of 4 years;
        CP63-36: A selection with high percentage (63.7%) of perfect flowers, small nut size
         with a high yield potential of 21.1 kg/tree.


3.1 Nursery Establishment

There are no large scale State owned or private nurseries for cashew propagation in Hainan.
Most cashew plantations have their own nurseries for production of planting material required
for their expansion programmes. Sometimes, grower organizations set up their own
nurseries in the vicinity of their cashew orchards specifically for the use of such ventures.

3.2 Planting Materials

Prior to 1978, all planting materials used were of seedling origin and only recently new
orchards have been planted with superior grafted selections. In many areas seedlings
continue to be used and nursery plants used are bare-rooted or established in polybags to
facilitate transport. The practice of using grafted plants of improved selections started in the
late 1980s.

3.3 Budding and Grafting Methods

Both patch-budding and side-grafting are practiced in cashew nurseries although the former
method is more common. Side grafting is generally used for topworking and for breeding
work on better performing clones.


4.1 Land Preparation

Selection of cashew growing areas on Hainan island is primarily based on temperature
criteria as low temperature regimes and cold waves in winter and spring are unsuitable for
successful cashew production. In general, monthly mean temperatures should be above
20°C. Existing cashew orchards in Hainan are mostly located in the sandy loam and sandy
areas of the coastal terrace at elevations below 100 m. Such lands with low agricultural
potential are opened up by complete or strip ploughing. Lands with grass or shrubs are used
by partial clearing and digging of pits for planting cashew. Most cashew plantations on the
island have been established on flat terrain without any conservation measures.

4.2 Planting Season

Optimum planting season is during the early-mid wet season between June and September.
The planting time however, is not so critical for polybag raised nursery plants, but when bare-
rooted seedlings are planted in winter and spring the survival rate is low.

4.3 Spacing

Tree density is mainly dependent on varietal attributes of clones/seedlings and soil fertility
conditions at a particular site. In general, tree density ranges from 120-270 trees/ha for
seedlings and 105-150 trees/ha for clones. Most orchards follow the square planting system
at a spacing of 6m x 6m. Closer planting gives higher yields at early bearing stage, and when
canopies become dense orchards are thinned (7-8 years after planting).

4.4 Planting of Cashew

Pits are dug about one month prior to planting at a size of about 80 cm x 70 cm x 60 cm.
Usually pits are dug by hand although mechanical digging has been introduced in recent
times. After some exposure to sun, the pits are filled with top soil and organic manure before
planting at the onset of the rainy season. When planting bare-root plants, the root system is
spread within the pit before filling with soil. In the case of polybag raised plants, the root
system is undisturbed and soil is re-filled and compacted layer by layer to ensure a firm
substratum. Sufficient watering is provided immediately after planting and mulching is often
practiced to conserve moisture.

5.1 Training and Pruning of Cashew

To achieve better fruit-set, young cashew trees are often trained to provide a better tree
form. In the case of mature trees, pruning is carried out to eliminate overcrowding and
shading or to remove weak, entangled, weak or dead branches infested with diseases or
pests. Non-bearing wood is removed to promote vigorous growth of active branches that
bear regularly. Training and pruning of mature trees is regularly carried out to remove excess

5.2 Application of Manure and Fertilizer

Since cashew orchards on Hainan island are established in sandy soils that are relatively low
in fertility, productivity is generally low unless manuring is applied to augment soil nutrients.
Fertilizer application rates increase with age of orchard. Very little fertilizer is needed in the
first year of planting as adequate basal fertilizer is given at planting. From then on, trees are
manured/fertilized twice a year in July and September with 0.25 kg of urea in the second
year when plants are about 40-50 cm high. In the third year, 0.5 kg of fertilizer is added. In
the 4th year 1 kg of fertilizer is added in two applications together with 0.5 kg of calcium
phosphate, 0.3 kg of muriate of potash or 20-30 kg of organic manure for every application.
The beneficial effect of P and K fertilizers were often enhanced by the addition of nitrogen
fertilizers which seemed to have a direct effect on fruitfulness in cashew (Jiang Shibang et

5.3 Weeding and Mulching

Up to three years of age, young cashew trees need weed-free conditions around the base
and 3-4 weeding cycles have to be carried out per year. Mulching is also practiced to keep
the basal area weed-free and to maintain moisture and temperature balance in the upper
layers of soil. Mulching is however, not essential for mature trees as the root system
becomes extensive. Weeding is usually carried out by hand and occasionally when
obnoxious weeds such as twitch-grass are present they are controlled with the use of

5.4 Cover-Cropping and Inter-Cropping

Natural grass and legume cover is usually maintained at time of land clearing to conserve
soil and water since the trees are planted far apart. In young orchards cashew is also
intercropped with green manure cover crops and/or short-term annual crops. Main cover-
crops include Calopogonium mucunoides, Macrophyllum atropurpureius cv. Siratro, pasture
grasses and inter-crops such as peanut, sweet potato and beans. In recent years, cashew is
being inter-cropped in some areas with melons (watermelon and sweet melon) and
vegetables such as hot pepper.

5.5 Supplementary Irrigation

Although cashew is generally established in the wet season in Hainan, a high survival rate is
assured by resorting to supplementary irrigation within one month from planting. This
practice becomes more necessary when inter-crops are taken but monocropped orchards
and mature plantations do not receive any irrigation.

5.6 Plant Protection Practices
Cashew diseases are of minor importance in China. Root rot, stem rot and die-back may
occur at the nursery stage while gummosis, defoliation and root rot have been observed in
mature orchards. No serious attempt has been made to identify the causative organisms of
these symptoms as these conditions did not seem to depress yields in any significant

Pests on the other hand are economically important in cashew nut production. More than 40
insect pests attacking the stem, branches, leaves, tender shoots, flowers and fruit have been
observed in Hainan plantations. The more serious pests are dotted-leg capsid (Hellopeltis
fasciaticollis, Poppius), cashew fruit borer (Nephopteryx spp.) and green-hairy beetle
(Plocaederus obesus, Gahan).

The dotted-leg capsid mainly infests tender shoots, racemes, leaves, cashew apples and
young nuts at pre-inflorescence, blooming and young fruit stages. Population dynamics show
that peak infestation occurs from February to March and its population declines after May.
Based on these studies, infested trees are sprayed with pesticides at the early stage of
infestation during November-January. Pesticides commonly used are 20 % fenfevarate with
a dilution of 1 in 200, and a mixture of 40 % dimethoate and 80 % dichlorphos (1:2 ratio) with
a dilution of 1 in 200 all given as a low volume spray.

The cashew fruit borer develops large populations during the fruiting season between March
and June, mostly attacking the cashew apple, nuts, racemes and tender shoots. Chemical
control is usually practiced in the mid-late March period when peak fruiting phase
commences. Spraying of 20 % fenfevarate or 2.5 % deltamethrin (1 in 200 dilution) is usually
carried out for effective control.

The green-hairy beetle attacks trunks and roots of trees. Topworked trees are particularly
susceptible and cut-end coating and trunk whitewashing with a lime solution gives effective
prophylactic control. Infested trunks are treated with 80 % dichlorphos (1 in 50 dilution) by
injecting the chemical into caterpillar tunnels to kill larvae.


Cashew orchards in Hainan comprise mostly of unselected seedling trees often giving very
low yields. Their level of management also leaves much to be desired. Detailed studies
carried out by Jiang Shibang et al of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences
since 1985 employing the horticultural practice of topworking with high yielding clones and a
systematic fertilizer programme rejuvenated most of the uneconomical seedling orchards in
Hainan. This is now an accepted practice among growers and a topworking program is now
in progress.


Harvesting of cashew is carried out from March-June with peaks occuring in April and May.
The flowering period lasts 2-3 months and hence the harvest period extends for 70-80 days.
The cashew apple is hardly utilized for processing at present. Mature nuts are picked from
the ground when ripe fruits drop naturally. Nuts are then collected and sun-dried before
processing using a hand operated machine.

Cashew yields are usually low with maximum annual average yields reaching only about 212
kg/ha (1996 average) even in well managed orchards that have reached peak harvests,
while about 30 percent of the orchards yield negligible harvests. Ledong county in Hainan
has the largest area under cashew. These orchards have given an annual yield ranging from
71-173 kg/ha since 1990.

Cashew is a crop that is freely marketed in China. In general, cashew nut is purchased from
growers by the State or private processing mills at prices as low as 6-7 yuan/kg of nuts which
results in a low product output value and negligible profits for the growers. Cashew nut mills
exploit this situation and even import unprocessed nuts from foreign sources for processing
and re-export as well as trade in domestic markets. The cashew nut marketing system is
poorly organized as there are no growers’ organizations to ensure fair prices to the producer.
Many private companies exploit the situation and have their own marketing channels.

In the past, a major portion of the processed kernels was exported to Hongkong, reaching a
maximum volume of 180 tons in 1994 (Table 2).

Table 2. Export of Cashew (kernels) from Hainan (in tons)

 Year 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Exports 97 139 - 159 19          -   21 180 -        -
Source: Hainan Statistical Year book 1995. Economics and Trade Department.

In recent years, domestic demand has increased considerably with the accelerated growth of
the economy and the improvement of living standards of the local population, so much so
that numerous companies are importing cashew to supply domestic markets. Cashew
kernels have a ready demand as it is a product much preferred by local consumers. It is
estimated that a modest per capita consumption of 50 g would require an annual supply of
60,000 tons to satisfy the local demand.


Although there is some potential for cashew nut development, China does not have the
optimum climatic regimes for expansion of the cashew industry. However, China has vast
areas of land considered unsuitable for other crops and which can be judiciously exploited for
expansion of the crop, considering the vast potential for consumption of the crop locally, and
the possibility of government intervention to assist the industry. Expansion of the cashew
crop has many socio-economic benefits. Marginal areas could be profitably farmed to assist
resource-poor farmers and many areas with sandy soils could be environmentally stabilized
by growing cashew. The coastal plain in south Hainan comprises of nearly 133,000 ha of
upland suitable for cashew and other forest species of which about one third of the area can
be brought under cashew. Since cashew cultivation does not require intensive production
methods or high input costs, it is an ideal crop for impoverished areas. Introduction of high
yielding clones and better quality varieties would undoubtedly benefit the producer as well as
the processor and eventually benefit the consumer.


10.1 Climatic Limitations

Low temperatures and typhoons are two major climatic constraints affecting cashew
production development in China. Geographical distribution of cashew is mainly restricted by
prevailing low temperatures during winter and spring seasons of the year. Temperature is
therefore, the prime factor in limiting the distribution of cashew. The south Hainan island
which is situated at 18° north latitude with a mean minimum temperature above 19°C in the
coldest month is considered suitable for successful cashew production where the crop
flowers and fruits normally. In the north of the Hainan island where minimum temperatures
go below 18°C, growth of the crop is somewhat erratic and restrained to various extents. It
was found that cashew grows normally at a temperature range of 23-29°C, exhibits slow
growth at or below 20°C and is restrained at around 18°C, whilst the trees suffer cold injury
and succumb at 15°C or below.

Typhoons often damage cashew trees as the tree tends to spread and produce weak
branches resulting in loss of the crop. Mild typhoon damage where only loss of foliage may
occur, recovery can restore the crop within a few months.

10.2 Varietal Limitations

A large proportion of the cashew plantations on Hainan island comprise of unselected
seedling trees which are low yielding and of poor quality. A survey of 1160 seven year old
trees carried out in Ledong county showed that only three trees produced 7.5 kg of nuts per
tree contributing only 0.26 %, while the rest gave an average yield of only 1.8 kg per tree
(Shibang et al). Recent germplasm screening has yielded some superior clones which are
now recommended for planting as grafts. Despite these attempts, productivity of cashew in
Hainan remains low as compared to other crops.

10.3 Management and Aftercare

The majority of cashew orchards in Hainan are poorly managed especially at the juvenile
stage. These receive very little attention and proper application of manure/fertilizer during the
fruiting stage. Low yields experienced in most cashew plantations that have reached their
peak bearing stage can be attributed to improper orchard fertilizer application practices. As a
result, about one third of the plantations produce virtually no crop of any economic value and
are in a neglected state. Fertilizer investigations carried out by Shibang et al showed
significant gains from the application of nitrogen in combination with P and K fertilizer in low
yielding orchards.

10.4 Pest Control Problems

Although pests such as dotted-leg capsid, cashew fruit borer and green hairy beetle have
been identified and appropriate recommendations made, many growers fail to resort to timely
spraying to alleviate this production constraint which has resulted in severe crop losses.

These constraints mentioned above are limiting production development of the cashew
industry in China. Extension services have commenced a programme to improve the
situation based on the research carried out by Shibang et al. Despite these efforts, cashew
productivity remains low as orchards are maintained and managed with minimum inputs and
efforts from growers.


      Cashew production is mainly confined to the southern and south-western coastal
       areas of Hainan island. The majority of plantations have been established with
       unselected seedling germplasm which has resulted in low production and
       productivity. Cashew extents have progressively declined during the last 10 years.
      The Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences has conducted systematic
       research on agronomic practices and recommended rejuvenation techniques for low
       yielding orchards. These include topworking with high yielding clones and NPK
       fertilizer application to improve existing orchards.
      China has an enormous domestic demand for the cashew crop and local production
       has been unable to keep up with existing market requirements.
      Major constraints to cashew nut production development in China include climatic,
       varietal, and management problems including soil fertility maintenance and plant
       protection problems. Of these limitations, temperature appears to be the prime factor
       that limits geographical distribution of the cashew.
      Despite these climatic limitations, there is still scope for expansion of the crop to over
       40 thousand ha along the coastal sandy tracts of Hainan island. Cashew can be
       therefore considered as a suitable economic venture for the resource-poor farming
       communities as well as an environmentally and ecologically stable crop for a sound
       land-use system for the coastal areas of Hainan Island.
      Cashew production will not assume any economic importance in the agricultural
       framework of the country unless a vigorous campaign is carried out to encourage and
       attract cashew growers through the offer of better varieties, supported by a strong
       research and extension effort to backstop the industry. It is only such a consolidated
       effort based on scientific management techniques that can assist farmers to increase
       production and productivity of the crop.

[3] Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Science, Danzhou City, Hainan Province
571737, China
            INDIA - E.V.V. Bhaskara Rao[4]

Cashew as a marketable commodity, has a very important role to play in the liberalized
Indian economy. With export earnings of Rs. 12,320 million in 1995-96, cashew ranked as
one of the top agricultural export commodities. From the farmers’ as well as from the
exporters’ point of view, the current emphasis that cashew is receiving as a horticultural crop
from the research and development front, is a welcome sign. At present, India has a
processing capacity of nearly seven hundred thousand metric tons and to meet the raw nut
demand, the country depends partially on imports from several African, and in recent years,
from south-east Asian countries. This has considerable drain on the country’s foreign
exchange reserves and there is an urgent need to increase local production to substitute
imported raw material in order to derive the maximum benefits from a strong processing and
marketing capability developed over the years by the Indian cashew industry.

Research work on cashew was initiated on a relatively small scale in early 1950’s resulting in
the development of several production techniques. These efforts were further strengthened
when the national research mandate was delegated to the Central plantation Crops
Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, in 1970 which spearheaded the All India
Coordinated Spices and Cashew improvement Project from 1971. These research activities
received further impetus with the implementation of a World Bank aided multi-State Cashew
Project in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Orissa from 1982-86. A
National Research Center for Cashew was established at Puttur to increase the production
and productivity of cashew with the mission-mode approach in 1986.

The cashew development component of the combined All India Coordinated Spices and
Cashew Improvement Project was de-linked and an independent National Cashew Research
project was initiated with the newly established National Research Center (NRC) for the crop
at the same time. There are 8 research centers and one sub-center at present, located in 8
cashew growing States in the country. This can be considered as a milestone in cashew
development with firmly established linkages with the Directorate of Cashew nut
Development Corporation and other extension agencies which assisted in the transfer of
newly developed production technologies.


2.1 Areas of Production

Cashew is grown in the western and eastern coastal areas and further inland in some parts
of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Currently, the area under cashew is around 634,900 ha
with a total production of 417,000 tons (Table 1). With 118,000 ha and a production of
140,000 tons, Kerala accounts for 18.6 % of the area and 33.5 % of production respectively.
The highest productivity is observed in Kerala and Maharashtra with over one ton per ha.
The high yields in Maharashtra are primarily due to the fact that cashew production is of
recent origin and the major part of the plantations have been established with high yielding
clonal material. Even the orchards raised from seeds are from selected progenies. The
current targets are set to produce 700,000 tons from 700,000 ha by the year 2000 AD.

Table 1. Area, Production and Productivity of Cashew in India (1965-96)
    States       Area      National %       Production       National %        Productivity
                 (ha)         Area            (tons)           Prod.             (kg/ha)
Kerala          118,600             18.6          140,000             33.5              1,180
Karnataka        83,900             13.2           37,600              8.9                448
Goa              49,600              7.8           17,800              4.3                359
Maharashtra      66,700             10.5           69,000             16.5              1,034
Tamil Nadu       77,360             12.2           30,930              7.4                400
Andhra          118,080             18.6           71,700             17.2                607
Orissa          101,850             16.0           43,000             10.3                422
West Bengal       8,680              1.4            6,960              1.7                802
Others           10,200              1.6              840              0.2                 82
Total           634,970            100.0          417,830            100.0                658

2.2 Varieties

Thirty-three cultivars have been released so far by the National Research Center as well as
several Agricultural Universities. Most of the varieties have a mean yield of 8-10 kg per tree
which gives over one ton per ha. In view of the export potential however, cultivation is
recommended only for such cultivars that have a kernel grade of W-210 to W-240 (210-240
kernels per lb). Cashew cultivar recommendations for different States are given in Table 2.


A number of propagation methods have been tested for the multiplication of cashew. Air-
layering was found to be one of the popular methods among growers. This technique
however, produced trees with poor anchorage as the root density was found to be low. It also
resulted in poor field establishment and high susceptibility to cyclones and drought
conditions. Air layering was therefore found to be unsuitable for commercial exploitation. In
the case of mound layering too, the absence of a tap root was found to be a disadvantage.
Epicotyl grafting was another method that had limitations due to high mortality at
transplanting and incidence of collar-rot at the nursery stage. Soft-wood grafting developed
at the research centers was found to be the most viable method of propagation that was
commercially acceptable; it gave a success rate of about 70 percent. The technique of soft-
wood grafting described below is similar to epicotyl grafting except the difference in the age
of the rootstock.

Table 2. Cashew Cultivars Recommended for Different States of India

       State        Cultivars Recommended       Progeny
Karnataka           Selection 1           VTH-107/3
                    Selection 2           VTH-40/1
                    Ullal 1               8/46 Taliparamba
                    Ullal 2               3/67 Guntur
                    Ullal 3               5/37 Manjeri
                    Ullal 4               2/77 Tuni: Andhra
                    UN 50                 2/27 Nileshwar
                    VRI 1                 M-10/4
                    VRI 2                 M-44/3
                    Vengurla 1            Ansur-1
                    Vengurla 4            Mid Red x Vetore 56
                    Chintamani 1          8/46 Taliparamba
Kerala              Madakkathara 1        BLA-39-4
                    Madakkathara 2        NDR 2-1
                    K-22-1                    22 Kottarakkara
                    Dhana                     ALGD-1-1 x K 30-1
                    Priyanka                  BLA-139-1 x K 30-1
Maharashtra and Goa Vengurla-1                Ansur-1
                    Vengurla-4                Mid Red x Vetore-56
                    Vengurla-6                Vetore 56 x Ansur-1
Tamil Nadu          VRI-1                     M 10/4
                    VRI-2                     M 44/3
                    VRI-3                     M 26/2
Andhra Pradesh      BPP-4                     EPM 9/8
                    BPP-6                     T No.56
                    BPP-8                     T No.1 x T No. 39
                    VRI-2                     M 44/3
Orissa              VRI-2                     M 44/3
                    Bhubaneshvar-1            Vengurla 36/3
West Bengal         Jhargram-1                T No. 16 of Bapatla
Madhya Pradesh      T No. 40
                    Vengurla 4                Mid Red x Vetore-56

Forty to sixty day old seedlings are used as rootstocks. Two pairs of leaves are retained and
the seedlings are decapitated at the soft-wood apical region. Wedge-grafting is then carried
out with a 4-5 cm cleft on the rootstock and with a small portion of the inner surface removed
to facilitate a perfect union of the wedge-shaped scion, which has been prepared by shaving
a portion of the bark and tissue on either side. The union is then secured by tying with a 15-
30 cm polythene strip. The top of the scion is covered with a polythene cap to protect the
apical portion of the scion from desiccation. The grafted plants are maintained in a lath or
screen house for 8-10 days until sprouts emerge, and then the grafted plants are provided
more sunlight and the caps removed. This wedge grafting technique is carried out by using
only the soft-wood tissues of the stock and scion. The following management techniques are
important in nursing young grafted plants.

- Grafts need to be watered frequently depending on the season.
- Excess water needs to be drained by providing drainage holes in polybags.
- Shoots on the rootstocks have to be nipped off frequently.
- Polythene wrapping at the union has to be removed about three months after grafting to
prevent girdling.
- When the scion leaves turn from brown to green, rootstock leaves have to be removed
(approximately 60 days after grafting).
- Flower shoots that sprout during the normal flowering season should be removed at the
nursery stage.
- To prevent roots penetrating into the ground, grafted plants should be shifted frequently or
placed on thick gauge black polythene sheets.
- Partial shade has to be provided to avoid sun-scorch by placing the grafted plants in a
lath/screen house. Direct sunlight should be avoided as polythene bags tend to perish.
Watering on alternate days should be done in summer.
- Regular insecticide sprays need to be given to control leaf sucking insects.
- When transporting grafted plants, terminal shoots and taproots should be protected.

Large extents of land are available in Karnataka, Maharashtra and west Bengal for
establishing new plantations under the cashew expansion program. There is also the
possibility of expanding cashew cultivation into non-traditional areas in Madhya Pradesh,
Bihar etc.

4.1 Selection of Site and Land Development

When selecting land for cashew, soils with salinity/alkalinity or waterlogging should be
avoided. Soil depth, slope, course texture, soil fertility and water availability seem to impose
very little limitations as cashew is a hardy crop. For establishing new plantations, land
preparation should begin with the first pre-monsoon rains. Land should be cleared of shrub
vegetation before digging pits for planting.

4.2 Planting Season

Planting of grafted plants is usually carried out during the monsoon season from July-August
both in the west coast as well as in the east coast. Orchards should have pits dug to receive
grafted plants well in advance of the main monsoon weather.

4.3 Spacing and Planting Systems

A spacing of 7.5m x 7.5m or 8m x 8m is recommended for cashew which gives a tree density
of 175 and 156 trees per ha, respectively. High density planting at 4m x 4m giving a tree
density of 625 trees per ha in the initial years and subsequently thinning in stages to reach a
final spacing of 8m x 8m is also practiced in some areas. This enables higher returns during
the initial years and as the canopies grow in volume, alternate trees are removed to achieve
the desired final spacing. In level sites however, it would be advantageous to plant cashew at
a spacing of 10m x 5m which will give a tree density of 200 trees per ha and at the same
time providing sufficient space for growers to plant inter-crops during the initial years of

4.4 Planting of Cashew

Pits are usually dug at the onset of the pre-monsoon rains to a size of 60cm x 60cm x 60cm
in light to medium soils. If a hard substrate like laterite is present pits may be 1m x 1m to
compensate for the lesser depth of soil. It is preferable to dig pits 15-20 days before planting
to expose planting holes to direct sunlight which can help remove termites and other harmful
insects that can damage young plants, if present. When filling, top soil mixed with compost (5
kg) or poultry manure (2 kg) and 200g of rock phosphate are placed in the pits. Contour
planting is usually followed in sloping areas. Standard conservation measures need to be
followed on steep lands when establishing cashew plantations.

Young plants are planted in the months of July-August. Most nurseries supply 5-12 month
old grafted plants in polybags. At planting, the polythene bag is removed without disturbing
the ball of earth and the roots. Care is taken to place the grafted plant in the pits leaving the
graft joint at least 5 cm above ground level. Normally the scion is staked to avoid damage
from wind and the support should remain up to the third year from planting. Most orchard
growers use a mulch around the planting hole to suppress weeds and conserve moisture.


5.1 Terracing and Bunding
In the western and eastern coastal areas cashew is grown mostly on sloping land. A
considerable amount of nutrient leaching and soil erosion are common in such situations.
Growers have been advised to construct terraces and contour pits to conserve runoff water.
Studies on the extent of root distribution revealed that 90 percent of the root system was
confined to a radius of 2m and a depth of 1 m. In order to achieve maximum utilization of
applied nutrients, fertilizer practices were confined to this part of the root zone. Before the
advent of the south west monsoon in May-June, basins of about 1.5m radius are prepared
for 2 year-old trees and subsequently widened to 2m in the third year. Terraces are made by
removing the soil from the elevated portion above the tree trunks to create basins of 1.5-2m.
Contour drains are also constructed to collect rain water above the tree-line and prevent soil
wash from the slopes.

5.2 Application of Manures and Fertilizer

Application of 10-15 kg of farmyard manure or compost annually is generally recommended
for cashew. In addition, the current fertilizer recommendation is 500g N (1.1 kg urea), 125g P
2O 5(625g rock phosphate) and 125g K 2 O (208g muriate of potash) per tree per year. This
has increased production in the All India cashew trials carried out at the research centers.
These trials also showed that the cashew responds well to increased N applications up to
750g. Since local NPK fertilizer mixtures do not deliver the required nutrients, application of
straight fertilizer is recommended.

Fertilizer is applied annually at the end of the rainy season into a shallow trench at the drip
line of trees. It is also recommended that fertilizer be applied in split doses during pre-
monsoon (May-June) and post-monsoon (September-October) periods to assure better
uptake of nutrients. If a single application is done, the post-monsoon period is more suitable
when ground moisture is adequate. One third the recommended dose is applied in the first
year, two third the dose in the second year and the full dose thereafter (Table 3).

Table 3. Recommended Doses of NPK Fertilizer for Cashew (g/plant)

  Year   Urea (gm) Rock Phosphate (gm) Muriate of Potash
1           330            200                 70
2           660            400                140
3 onwards 1,100            625                208

Based on the results of research conducted by the National Coordinated trials, the following
methods of fertilizer application are recommended to cashew growers. In the red loamy soils
in low rainfall areas such as the east coast, fertilizers have to be applied and raked into the
soil along the drip line of tree canopies. In laterite soils and steep lands of the west coast,
fertilizer is applied in circular trenches of about 25 cm width along the drip line of trees.
Trenches are filled and a mulch is applied to ensure soil moisture retention.

5.3 Weeding

Until tree canopies shade out the weeds, weeding is essential around the tree trunks up to a
radius of about 2 m. The rest of the orchard requires slashing of under growth at least twice a
year. The weeding cycles are generally confined to the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon
periods to coincide with the fertilizer application.

Alternatively, weedicides may also be applied after slashing, well in advance of the rainy
season if the under growth is too dense. The recommendation is to apply Agrodar-96 (2-4 D)
at the rate of 4 ml/litre of water followed by Grammoxone at the rate of 5ml/litre of water.
Approximately 400 litres of spray is required to cover one ha. The spraying is repeated in the
post monsoon season if the weed load is heavy.

5.4 Mulching

In low rainfall areas, mulching around the base of trees helps in the control of weeds,
retention of moisture and modulation of soil temperature, especially in the hot summer
months. This becomes an essential operation as cashew is usually planted in very dry areas
where other crops are seldom grown. Most growers utilize the slashed weeds to mulch their

5.5 Training and Pruning

During the initial phase of orchard establishment, shoots arising on the rootstock have to be
regularly removed to promote better scion growth, particularly in the first year after planting
when scion rejection could occur if rootstock shoots are left unchecked. Training of young
trees during the first three years is essential to develop uniform canopies. Training in the
juvenile phase comprises of removing basal branches and water shoots. The plants are
trained to a single stem and branches are allowed to grow about 0.75-1m from ground level.
Deformed branches are also removed during the first few years. Since cashew trees tend to
spread their canopies and lodge easily, proper staking is also essential. Trees are kept under
check by topping off the main stem at a height of 4-5m from ground level. Orchard operations
such as terracing, weeding, fertilizer application, nut collection and stem/root borer
infestation control can be easily achieved if trees are properly trained. Pruning should be
carried out in August-September at least once in three years when unwanted growth is
removed to provide adequate sunlight into the canopy. Since fruiting is only encouraged from
the third year, de-blossoming has to be carried out as flower clusters appear during the
juvenile phase.

5.6 Plant Protection

Root and stem borer infestation is usually controlled with swabbing tree trunks with carbaryl
(2 %) or using a coal tar/kerosene suspension (1:2). After pruning of trees, a standard
practice is to smear all cut surfaces with Bordeaux mixture paste (10 %) to prevent fungal
infections and die-back. A 1 % Bordeaux spray is also administered if the cut surfaces are

More than 60 species of insect pests have been identified in cashew in India. The major
pests are the tea mosquito, stem/root borer, leaf minor, leaf and blossom webber and flower
thrips. No major diseases that cause economic losses have been reported so far in cashew.

For efficient management of the tea mosquito bug (Helopeltis antonii), it is important to check
the build up of the pest population on the cashew crop as well as on the alternate hosts such
as neem, drumstick, cocoa, guava etc. Tea mosquito bugs can be effectively controlled by
three sprays at flushing, flowering and fruiting stages with endosulfan or monocrotophos
(0.05 %) for the first and second sprays and carbaryl (0.15 %) for the third spray. In case of
severe infestation, it may sometimes lead to die-back caused by a secondary infection of
Botrydiplodia theobromae. In such instances it will require pruning of the diseased shoots
and swabbing of the cut surfaces with 10 % Bordeaux paste and spraying the trees with a 1
% solution of Bordeaux mixture.

The stem and root borer (Plocaecderus ferrugineus L.), is capable of killing cashew trees. In
severe cases of injury by this pest, gummosis of the stem and yellowing followed by drying of
leaves can occur. The effective control measure is to remove immature stages of the pest
and swabbing the trunk and exposed roots with carbaryl (0.2 %) or neem oil (5 %) and
application of Sevidol 8G (75g/tree) into the basin around the tree. Prophylactic treatment of
swabbing the trunk up to one meter height with coal tar and kerosene in the ratio of 1:2 twice
a year during March and November could also give effective control. The spray schedule
indicated for tea mosquito bug will also be effective against the control of other foliage and
inflorescence pests.

5.7 Cover-Cropping and Inter-Cropping

Popular cover crops for cashew plantations are Peuraria javanica, Calapagonium
muconoides and Centrosema pubescens which improve the fertility and moisture balance
and help conserve orchard soils. Cover crop seeds are generally sown with the advent of the
monsoons at a seed rate of about 7 kg/ha. On degraded steep lands, cover crops are usually
established on seed beds between tree rows.

Inter-cropping has become popular with the systematic establishment of large-scale
orchards. It is practiced in the first few years when there is sufficient space between crop
rows with the main objective of deriving some income until the cashew starts giving
economic returns. In Andhra Pradesh, popular inter-crops are horsegram, cowpea,
groundnut etc. Casuarina is also a tree inter-crop planted at a spacing of 1.5m x 1.5m in
cashew orchards in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. In the west Godavari district of Andhra
Pradesh, cashew is grown in combination with casuarina and coconut.

In Kerala and coastal Karnataka, pineapple is grown as a biennial crop in the initial 4-5 years
and farmers find it far more profitable than crops such as redgram and cassava. Adopting a
two-row system of planting in contour trenches, yields of 15-20 tons/ha have been achieved
from this inter-crop. The pineapple inter-crop also indirectly benefits the main cashew crop as
contour trenches help to conserve water and nutrients. When hedge-row planting at a
spacing of 5m x 10m is used, inter-crops of Acacia, casuarina etc. are taken without any ill-
effects on the main crop. These trees are planted about 3.5 m away from the cashew in two-
row plots spaced 1m x 1m apart in the center of crop avenues.

5.8 Irrigation and Drainage

Cashew cultivation is generally carried out under rainfed conditions. In homesteads however,
it is preferable to give some supplementary irrigation during the warm summer months from
January to March. An application of about 200 liters of water per tree every fortnight was
found to double cashew yields in trials conducted at the National Research Center at Puttur.
In the sandy tracts of the East coast, although frequency and quantity of water applied
varies, trees are watered during the summer months. Both in the homesteads and large-
scale orchards, cashew is susceptible to waterlogging and proper drainage is essential in low
lying areas.


Bearing commences after the third year of planting and the trees will be in full production by
the tenth year whilst the economic life of a tree is about 20 years. The main harvesting
season is from February to May. Most farmers harvest their crop before they drop to prevent
pilferage. This very often results in poor quality of the kernels. The optimum stage of harvest
is when nuts drop to the ground. High quality nuts are obtained when freshly fallen nuts are
separated from the cashew apples and sun dried for 2-3 days to bring down the moisture
percentage from about 25 percent to below 9 percent. It is very essential to dry the nuts in
order to prevent spoilage during storage. The drying process helps to retain flavor and quality
of the kernels. When cashew apples are used for processing, harvesting has to be carried
out before they drop. A simple test of maturity is to float nuts in water when mature nuts will
sink while the immature and unfilled nuts will float. Nuts are usually gathered every week
during the harvest season. Cashew apples for the fresh fruit market should be harvested

Normally, about 92 % of the trees yield by the third year from planting. The average yield per
tree increases from about 2 kg at 3-5 years to 4 kg at 6-10 years and 5-10 kg when trees are
11-15 years of age. Thereafter, trees yield in excess of 10 kg as the trees get older.


Raw cashew nuts are a seasonal commodity and the trading season is from March to May.
Growers usually supply the primary or village markets where small traders collect and supply
the urban markets. The cashew trade is seldom handled by exclusive traders. Usually, those
traders who collect other plantation products also trade in cashew. Due to the highly
competitive nature of the cashew trade growers have few marketing problems. When large
quantities are collected by middlemen, the processors enter the marketing chain and make
wholesale purchases. Grades and standards for cashew are yet to be introduced in India.
Quality is generally determined by appearance and cutting tests that traders employ prior to
purchase. The raw cashew nut market involves a large amount of capital where nearly 80
percent of the produce is transacted within a matter of 35 days. The current value of Indian
production is estimated at around Rs. 10,000 million. This capital is made available by
industry for procurement and processing operations.

There are no growers’ cooperatives or organizations for cashew marketing. In Kerala
however, the government has been involved in the procurement process and supply to large-
scale processors. This adversely affected the cashew trade and has now been replaced by a
free market policy.

In addition to the local production of nearly 430,000 tons, India also imports a considerable
quantity of raw nuts from several African and South-east Asian countries to satisfy the
national processing capacity of 700,000 tons established in the country.


In 1960-61, 228,000 tons of raw nuts were processed of which nearly 50 percent was
imported. During the same year, 44,000 tons of processed kernels were exported which
accounted for 77 percent of the total kernel output from the industry. The processing output
has considerably increased in recent years and in 1995-96, about 640,000 tons were
processed (Table 4) of which 65 percent raw nuts were obtained from local production.
Domestic consumption has also increased considerably from 13,000 tons in 1960-61 to
92,000 tons in 1995-96, while the country also earned a foreign exchange equivalent of Rs.
12,320 million (US$ 352 million) through the export of cashew kernels and cashew nut shell
liquid (CNSL). Export earnings reached a peak in 1994-95 when 77,000 tons of kernels were
exported with a value of Rs. 12,440 million (US$ 355 million). With the establishment of new
orchards using high yielding vegetatively propagated planting material, the future looks bright
for the cashew industry in India.

Table 4. Raw Nut Availability, Processing and Export Statistics of India, 1960-96, (in
‘000 tons).

 Year Domestic Production Imports Total Raw Nuts Kernels Exports Domestic Consumption
1960-61      111            118         228        57      44             13
1970-71      177            169         346        87      50             37
1980-81         185             16         201          50      32              18
1990-91         295             83         378          95      49              46
1995-96         418            222         640         160      68              92


A study of the industry prior to 1985 revealed that most of the plantations were of seedling
origin and cashew cultivation was mainly carried out as an afforestation and conservation
program for waste lands rather than an economic venture. Since productivity was not the
basic objective of such a program, the cashew was maintained under highly neglected
conditions. Poor soil fertility in cashew growing areas, seedling progenies of nondescript
origin and neglect of the crop resulted in low productivity. This was prevalent in most of the
cashew growing areas of Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
Neglected trees established for conservation purposes hardly responded to the application of
any inputs. Seedling progenies that were established in Maharashtra however, showed that
these plantations responded to the application of modern inputs developed by research.
These seedling progenies were from selected stock and orchards had received better
attention from the beginning of their establishment. In order to ensure better productivity, all
new plantings are encouraged to use vegetatively propagated material of recommended
cultivars and the use of seedlings is completely discouraged.

One of the major thrusts being advocated at present is to rehabilitate existing unthrifty
seedling plantations. It may however, not be profitable to attempt rehabilitation of senile and
sparsely populated orchards. The working group responsible for the preparation of the 8th
national plan revised yield estimates from 2 tons per ha to one ton per ha, mainly having
these plantations in view. The current area of 635,000 ha is likely to reach 1 million ha by the
turn of the century. Cashew is being considered as a candidate crop for rehabilitation of
waste lands by many development planners. The issue is however, being debated whether
more waste land be brought under cashew or rehabilitation of old orchards be undertaken
using elite planting material. Waste lands that are now being considered are far more inferior
to those areas which already have cashew plantations. The cashew crop has contributed in
some ways to conserving the soil in the existing orchards. The logical alternative would
therefore be, to utilize existing cashew lands for a development program using available
technologies to reach the required production levels without expanding into any more
degraded waste lands.


One of the key factors in favor of expanding the cashew industry in India is the stable price in
the International market when compared to other nuts such as almond, hazel nut etc.
Nutritionally, cashew also compares well with other tree nut crops. It is a commodity rich in
unsaturated fatty acids with high protein and low levels of saturated fats and soluble sugars.
Higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids which lower blood cholesterol is particularly of
high nutritional significance. The crop is steadily gaining acceptance in many western
markets where consumers are more health conscious.

The elaborate research network and development infrastructure in India is beneficial for the
expansion of the cashew industry. Development and introduction of eco-friendly production
packages such as organic farming and integrated pest management can provide a further
boost to the development of the crop and the cashew industry in the future.

[4] Director, National Research Center for Cashew, Puttur, 574202, D.K., Karnataka, India.
            INDONESIA - Usman Daras[5]

Cashew growing in Indonesia was originally meant for afforestation programs, particularly in
those areas that were infertile and experienced dry climatic conditions. Within the last two
decades however, expansion in area under cashew was carried out for the economic value
of cashew nut kernels rather than for afforestation purposes. There is a steady increase of
cashew growing areas annually, especially in the Eastern part of the country where the
climatic conditions are favorable for its production. From an area of 58,000 ha which
produced 9000 tons in 1975, it increased to 466,000 ha with a total production of 78,000 tons
in 1996. Unfortunately, the increase in area did not show an appreciable rise in production
due to low productivity of plantations. This was partly due to the use of unselected
germplasm and traditional management practices. As a result, mean yield/ha ranged from
150-250 kg/ha/year.

The volume of cashew exported has been increasing in recent years. In 1978, the country
exported 39,000 tons which increased to 55,000 tons by 1994. The volume of exports
decreased to 27,000 tons in 1996, partly due to a steady increase in domestic consumption.
Cashew is mainly exported to India and the USA, and recently, Japan too has become an
importer of Indonesian cashew. More than 90 percent of cashew production is in the hands
of small farmers.


Cashew production in Indonesia is mainly confined to the Eastern parts of the country. These
areas are characterized by sparse rainfall and a long dry season, which is considered ideal
for high productivity of cashew. In order to minimize losses during orchard establishment,
timing of the planting to synchronize with the short rains becomes critical. If planting losses
occur however, re-planting is carried out the following year.

There are indications that the cashew growing areas are steadily increasing. For example, in
1978 the area under cashew was about 82, 511 ha with a total production of 8,800 tons. This
increased to 253,777 ha with a production of 23,305 tons by 1988. In 1996, the area
increased further to nearly 466,000 ha. The main growing regions are the provinces of South
East Sulawesi (46 %), South Sulawesi (23 %), East Java (10%), West and East
Nusatenggara (4 %), Bali (3 %) and other minor areas (14 %). Production statistics are
presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Cashew Production Trends in Indonesia (1978-96)
Year Extent (Ha) Production (tons)
1978     82 511              8 800
1983    193 583            18 047
1988    253 777            23 305
1993    400 593            69 751
1996    465 758            77 663
Source: Nogoseno (1997)

The increase in production area has not shown a significant improvement of crop yields. This
is mainly due to the use of unselected planting material and poor management practices
followed by growers.

The low productivity of Indonesian cashew orchards is a result of the indiscriminate use of
unselected and inferior germplasm by growers. No serious selection work has been carried
out so far to develop superior clones and farmers have been compelled to use their own
planting material. This has now been realized as a major drawback to the development of the
cashew industry. Some attempts have been made to improve the situation which have met
with little success. Although the Ministry of Agriculture Directorate of Extension has
recommended several selections from high yielding mother trees identified as seed sources
in the main production areas, these improvements in the germplasm status are yet to be
realized in any substantial way.

In addition to the above selections identified as bulk populations, some collections of superior
germplasm are also available at the Research Institute for Spices and Medicinal Crops which
has been mandated for the improvement of cashew. Seeds of these selections are also
available for distribution. The potential productivity of the above bulk populations varies from
900-2,200 kg/ha/year (Sri Kurniati and Hadad, 1996). As the number of trees for each
selection is limited, an immediate impact on production cannot be achieved in the short term,
although a long term multiplication program can be achieved for future recommendations.

There has been little success in the use of clonal material for artificial propagation of cashew.
The majority of plantations are therefore being established from seedling progenies. In the
future, vegetatively propagated planting material will be used for new areas, once the
techniques are developed. Since grafting of clonal selections can be carried out relatively
easily, a program will be launched to improve the skills of cashew growers in vegetatively
propagated planting material production.


As mentioned earlier, cashew cultivation is mainly confined to the eastern parts of the
country which have a relatively dry climate. Plantations are established on flat terrain as well
as in hilly areas. Since land clearing on hilly slopes is very costly, cashew trees are
established with minimum land development. When inter-crops have to be grown in the rainy
season, farmers clean their lands, but weeds are allowed to grow in the dry season after the
annual crops have been harvested. Potential fire hazards in the dry season discourages
weeding and collection of dry vegetation in summer. Torrential rain in the monsoon season
also tends to erode hill slopes when the vegetal cover is removed. Since large-scale
conservation on hill slopes is considered too expensive, most farmers resort to mini-
conservation measures for individual cashew trees.

Land clearing operations and digging pits are carried out 1-2 months before planting. Tree
spacing used by farmers varies from 6m x 6m to 10m x 10m or more. For afforestation
programs, the spacing used was generally 4m x 4m with the intention of thinning out later in
order to ensure a good ground cover. Due to its widely spreading growth habit, cashew trees
perform badly and are less productive at high plant densities. With high competition for water
and overcrowding, these plantations become uneconomical. The current practice adopted by
farmers, therefore, is to increase the spacing in order to utilize crop avenues for cultivation of
inter-crops such as upland rice, maize, cassava etc. Cashew planting is usually carried out in
November-December when monsoonal conditions bring regular rains.

In general, cashew receives very little attention as a crop. It is considered more as a forest
tree rather than an agricultural crop, since cashew does not seem to require much attention
compared to other crops. Therefore, growers incur minimal production costs for maintenance
of cashew orchards. In most instances, cashew is a companion crop to various annual inter-
crops and economically, is of secondary importance to farmers.

Since cashew is usually grown on marginal lands where farmers face long dry periods
without any access to irrigation, it is not only the area of land and resources that is limiting
but also the high labor inputs required to grow many annual crops during the short rainy
season. Since the family labor is relatively and frequently unemployed, some income from
crops like cashew helps to supplement family income and cashew planting and harvesting is
often carried out by family labor.

After a few years of weeding and care of the young cashew plants, the trees develop large
canopies and the farmers move to other vacant plots to grow annual crops. As cashew trees
grow in size, there is less weed competition, care and management problems will diminish
except for clean weeding under the canopies to facilitate harvesting. The only orchard
operation in the dry season is harvesting and an occasional weeding at the end of the dry
season, before the advent of the rainy season. In some instances, mulching and cover
cropping are practiced, although these agronomic applications are seldom seen in most
cashew orchards. Farmers are often scared of fire hazards when dry plant residue is heaped
in cashew plantations in the summer months. Some general fertilizer recommendations for
those farmers who wish to apply for their cashew crop are available (Table 2).

Table 2. General Recommendations for Fertilizer Application in Cashew (gm/tree/year)
Age (crop year) Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P2O5) Potash (K2O)
       1                 100                80            -
       2                 200                80           60
       3                 400               120          120
       4                 500               130          130
       5                 700               250          420
       6                 900               250          420
       7               1,000               500          300
Source: Abdullah (1994)

Note: The fertilizer is to be applied in two split doses, at the beginning and the end of the
rainy season.

As subsistence farming is the dominant land use system in dry and marginal lands where
cashew is grown, farmers give much higher priority to their annual food crops such as maize,
upland rice, cassava etc. The ability to inter-crop is an important economic factor in
determining planting distances for the permanent cashew crop, especially in the eastern part
of the country where a limited choice of annual crops are available to farmers. Furthermore,
use of fertilizer for annual inter-crops is indirectly beneficial to the main cashew plantations.


As previously mentioned, cashew was used mainly in afforestation programs in the early
1970s. Consequently, the narrow spacing used resulted in severe overcrowding and low
productivity as trees advanced in age. Improving yields by thinning plantations failed to
attract farmers as it was considered too expensive and labor intensive. This operation was
therefore, more of an academic practice followed in research institutions rather than in
farmers’ fields.
Low yields in cashew have also been attributed to pest and disease incidence. Common
pests attacking cashew are Cricula, Helopeltis, and diseases such as Fusarium and
Pseudomonas (Tombe et al, 1996; Supriadi, 1996; Wikardi et al, 1886). Losses from pests
and diseases have been considered to be substantial although there are no accurate
statistics available.


Time of harvesting varies from region to region, but is usually carried out in the dry season
from July to November. In South East Sulawesi, harvesting months are from July to
September, whereas orchardists in West and East Nusatenggara harvest their cashew crops
from September to November. These differences are mainly due to micro-climatic variations
between regions.

The main source of income for growers is the cashew kernel. Other products such as the
cashew apple and CNSL are of little importance. In some areas, the cashew apple may be
marketed, used for manure or given as livestock feed. The economic value of CNSL is
exploited only by a few processing industries that have been established in the country.
Statistics on the utilization or marketing of CNSL or the percentage of shelling of nuts by
farmers and processors are not available. The main difficulty in shelling of nuts is the high
variability in size and resultant quality. Prices of nuts also vary according to different grades
of whole and broken kernels.


Growers market their produce through local traders and middlemen who collect and supply
exporters and processors. Current prices are about US $ 0.5 per kg of raw nuts and US$ 3-4
for kernels. Prices at farm-level are remunerative and tend to increase every year (Figure 1).
Development programs on cashew growing in the Eastern part of the country therefore,
meets ready acceptance by farmers.

Figure 1. Domestic Price of Cashew Nut from 1990 to 1996 (in Indonesian Currency - 1
US$ = Rp 2,400).


By 1996, the total extent of cashew production was estimated at 466,000 ha which gave a
yield of 78,000 tons of kernel. The world production of cashew was reported in 1995 to be in
the range of 540,000 tons (Markamin, 1997). Based on these figures Indonesia has
contributed to about 14 percent of world production. The role that Indonesia can play in the
supply of cashew to world markets will increase in the future. Production statistics show a
steady increase in cashew growing extents each year. In recent years the cashew program
has been assisted by foreign donor funding from ADB and UNDP.

Land use surveys have shown that more than 15 million ha spread out over 9 provinces in
the country are suitable for the expansion of the cashew industry (Abdullah and Las, 1995).
There does not seem to be any limitations on land availability as seen from the above
survey. World cashew prices are also very favorable for the development of the crop in


There are however, several constraints that the cashew industry may have to face in the
future. There is bound to be increased competition in the international market between the
main producer countries and as a result, the prices of cashew may go down. Among other
problems facing the local cashew industry are those of a technical nature. Lack of high
quality planting material/varieties, variable quality in home-level and small-scale processing
enterprises, pest and disease constraints, drought effects, fire hazards and economic
instability would be some of the factors that could adversely affect the cashew industry.

Of the 18 processing companies established in the 1980’s, only 8 are functioning today. Low
production and consequently, the lack of raw material supply are the major causes for their
decline. There is strong competition between raw cashew nut exporters and processors. In
this situation, farm-gate prices are good, but probably not conducive for development of the
processing industry. Some government intervention in developing a price control policy to
benefit the producer and the processor is therefore essential in the interests of the industry.

Abdullah, A. 1994. Technological packages for cashew development. Upland Farmer
Development Project, Directorate - General Estate, Ministry of Agriculture.
Abdullah, A. and I. Las 1995. Peta kesesuaian iklim dan lahan untuk pengem bangan
tanaman jambu mente di Indonesia. Badan Penelitian dan Pengembangan Pertanian,
Department Pertanian.
Markamin, S. 1996. Perbenihan Jambu Mente. Prosiding Forum Komunikasi Ilmiah
Komoditas Jambu Mente. Balai Penelitian Tanaman Rempah dan Obat. 46-54 hal.
Markamin, S. 1997. Forum Konsultasi Ilmiah Perbenihan tanaman Rempah dan Obat.
Tantangan dan peluang pengembangan industri perbenihan jambu mente. Balai Penelitian
Tanaman rempah dan Obat.
Nogoseno. 1997. Program Pengembangan Jambu Mente di Indonesia. Pertemuan Teknis
dan Kemitraan Jambu Mente. Directorat Jenderal Perkebunan (Documen 1).
Sri Kurniati dan Hadad, E.A. 1996. Perkembangan Penelitian Bahan Tanaman Jambu
Mente. Prosiding Forum Komunikasi Ilmiah Komoditas Jambu Mente. Balai Penelitian
Rempah dan Obat. 104 - 114 hal.
Supriadi dan D. Sitepu. 1996. Penyakit Utama Jambu Mente dan Strategi Penanggulang-
annyya. Prosiding Forum Komunikasi Ilmiah Komoditas Jambu Mente. Balai Penelitian
Tanaman Rempeh dan Obat. 115 - 123 hal.
Tombe, M., et al 1996. Penelitian jamur Fusarium beresal dari tanaman jambu mente
dengan gejala busuk akar. Prosiding Forum Komunikasi Ilmiah Komoditas Jambu Mente.
Balai Penelitian Tanaman Rempah dan Obat. 210 - 217 hal.
Wikardi, E.A., Wiratno, and Siswanto. 1996. Beberapa hama utama tanaman jambu mente
dan usaha pengendaliannya. Prosiding Forum Komunikasi Ilmiah Komoditas Jambu Mente.
Balai Penelitian Tanaman Rempah dan Obat, 124-132 hal.

[5] Research Officer, Institute for Spices and Medicinal Crops, Agency for Agricultural
Research and Development, Indonesia
           MYANMAR - Maung Maung Lay[6]

The agricultural sector which receives priority, is the mainstay of the Myanmar economy as it
contributes nearly 35 percent to the Gross National Product (GDP). In the Southern region of
the country where soil and climatic conditions are more favorable, there is high potential for
the production of plantation crops such as cashew, oil palm and rubber. In 1982, cashew was
given priority plantation status by the government which resulted in rapid expansion of the
crop in many States and Divisions of the country. By the end of 1995, cashew growing
extended to 21,009 ha with an annual production of 2,114 tons. As the world demand for
cashew kernels increases, Myanmar has the possibility of developing the crop as a foreign
exchange earner and is bound to play a significant role in the country’s economy in the
future. Being in close proximity to India which has a processing capacity far in excess of its
local production, there is much potential to develop the crop for export.


2.1 Cashew Growing Areas

Cashew is cultivated at present in ten regions, namely, in Kachin State, Kayin State, Sagaing
Division, Taninthayi Division, Bago Division, Mon State, Rakhine State, Yangon Division,
Shan State and Ayeyarwady Division.

It can be seen from Table 1 that the area under cashew almost doubled by 1995-96 from the
original extents in 1991-92. The major production areas are Taninthayi Division (4,187 ha),
Mon State (4,367 ha) and Yangon Division (2,353 ha). Other regions that are expanding
production are Bago Division (2,558 ha), Ayeyarwady Division (2,353 ha) and Kayin State
(516 ha) while only a few ha have been cultivated so far in Kachin State (61 ha), Shan State
(66 ha), Rakhine State (122 ha) and Sagaing Division (7 ha).

Table 1. Area of Production of Cashew in Myanmar (1991-92 to 1995-96)

State/Division           Area of Production (ha)
                 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96
Kachin                                        61      61
Kayin                264     445     445     445     516
Sagaing                                7       7       7
Taninthayi         2,829 3,298 3,465 3,465 4,187
Bago                 169 1,884 2,580 1,583 2,558
Mon                4,095 4,298 4,298 4,298 4,367
Rakhine               45     265     247     247     122
Yangon             1,579 3,551 6,523 6,731 6,772
Shan                                                  66
Ayeyarwady           207     851 1,257 1,290 2,353
Magway                 5       5
Total               9193 14,597 18,822 19,1287 21,009
Source: Department of Land Records and Settlements, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation,
Union of Myanmar
2.2 Potential for Expansion of Cashew Production

The agro-climatological data of cashew growing regions is presented in Table 2. The best
climatic regime for cashew production is found in the Southern part of the country in
Kawthong and Myeik regions. The high productivity level of 477 kg per ha in Taninthayi
Division supports this observation (Table 3). A well distributed rainfall of 3864 - 3982 mm
ensures stable moisture availability throughout the year. Ambient temperatures during the
flowering and fruiting season in January - April do not go below 21° C and the relative
humidity is well within the range of 50 - 80 % during this period (Table 2). The Dawai region
has the highest rainfall of 5337 mm distributed over 149 days in the year. With proper
selection of planting material and adoption of appropriate production practices, Dawei region
could also have good potential for cashew production.

Table 2. Agro-Climatological Data for Cashew Growing Areas in Myanmar (Average of
10 Years, 1981-1990).

State/Division Latitude   Annual      Rainy      Maximum          Minimum         Relative
                          Rainfall    Days      temperature     Temperature      Humidity
                           (mm)               Jan Feb Mar Apr Jan Feb Mar Apr Jan Feb Mar Apr
Bhamaw            24.2        1866       11 25.2 27.7 30.8 32.5 9.5       12 15.4 19.4 82 74 64 86
Hpa-an            17.1        3989       14 33.1 35.1 36.6 37.4      18 19.7 22.2 24.9 73 72 69 66
Monywa            22.1          692      46 23.3 31.8 35.8 38.4 13.6 15.4 18.9 23.1 72 62 49 51
Dawei             14.4        5337      149 32.9 33.3 33.9 34.3 18.3 20.2 21.4 23.7 71 74 70 71
Myeik             12.5        3864      148 31.9 32.6 33.4 33.5 21.5 22.4 23 24.7 67 73 73 75
Kawthong           9.6        3982      136 31.4 32.4 33.4 33.3 21 22.1 22.6 23.5 71 70 68 73
Taungoo             19        1929      114 30.5 33.9 36.6 38.3 14.9 16.4 20.4 24 73 62 60 62
Bago              17.4        3180      134 31.6 33.9 36.3 37.6 16.5 17.1 20.4 23.7 70 77 74 70
Pyay              18.8        1184       86 31.1 34.2 37.5 38.2 16.2 18 20.8 24.6 68 60 57 58
Mawlamyine        16.6        4628      140   33.1   34.9 35.4 35.8 18.2 19.2 22 24.4 66     65   63   66
Ye                15.2        4851      146   32.2   33.2 34 34.3 15.7 16.3 17.6 20.1 69     68   64   66
Thahton             17        5195      150   32.2   34.1 35.2 35.7 17.9 20.2 22.9 24.9 63   65   85   65
Bilin             17.3        4860      140   32.1   34.2 35.5 36,2 16.3 17.4 19.6 22.6 63   64   64   62
Sillway           20.1        4526      126 28.3 29.4 31.6 32.8 15.2 16.7 20.2 24 70 65 66 67
Thandwe           18.2        5113      137 30.8 32 33.4 34.8 11 12.5 16.6 22 74 69 68 65
Mrauk U           17.2        3327      115 20.9 32 34.9 35.7 11.7 13 18.1 21.8 76 71 62 71
Hmawbi                        2395      126    32 34.8     37 38.1 15.8   17 19.7 23.6 63 62 64 63
Shan              22.5
Hsipaw            20.5        1298       91 26.6 29.2 33.1 34.3       9 9.3 12.1 17.8 95 81 64 60
Monghsai                      1443      107 27.7 30.4 33 34.8        10 9.7 12.1 17.8 95 81 64 60
Ayeyarwady        16.8
Pathein                       2988      126 31.3 33.4 34.9 36.6 17.1      19 21.3   24 72 71 67 65

Table 3. Area of Production and Productivity of Cashew in Myanmar (1995 - 96)
No. State/ Division Total Area Productive Area (ha) Productivity (kg/ha) Production (kg) Remarks
1 Kachin                    61                   61                 33.8          2,062
2 Kayin                    516                   42                  294         12,348
3 Sagaing                    7                    7               198.71          1,391
4 Taninthayi             4,187               1,904                477.33        908,836
5 Bago                   2,558                  368                11.18          4,116
6 Mon                    4,367               2,571                 67.08        172,425
7 Rakhine                  122                   39                83.92          3,273
8 Yangon                 6,772               1,087                 40.42         43,944
9 Shan                      66                   44                   70          3,080
10 Ayeyarwady            2,353               2,221                433.39        962,561
    Grand Total        21,009                8,344                253.36      2,114,036
Source: Department of Land Records and Settlements, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation,
The Union of Myanmar.

A large extent of nearly 4,367 ha is planted with cashew in Mon State. The annual rainfall is
high and its distribution is somewhat similar to that of Taninthayi Division. In a few parts of
the State however, low temperatures limit flowering and fruit set. Usually, temperatures
below 18°C limit flowering in cashew. Some of the cashew plantations have heavy
compacted soils which hinder root penetration. Consequently, during the dry months, trees
suffer from severe moisture stress in such areas. This could be one of the reasons for the
low productivity level (67.06 kg) in many plantations of Mon State. With proper moisture and
soil conservation measures and the application of agro-techniques such as organic matter
application and improvement of soil aeration and moisture retention measures, reasonably
good productivity can be achieved in this region.

In Yangon Division, 6,772 ha are planted with cashew. Large plantations are encouraged in
this Division. The rainfall pattern is somewhat different with much less precipitation and fewer
rainy days. High velocity winds in the summer months also increase the dry nature of the
climate which causes severe water stress, especially during the critical flowering and fruit
setting periods. This is evident from the low productivity of about 40.42 kg per ha in Yangon
Division. Many farmers resort to moisture conservation measures and use of fast growing
tree species such as Casuarina for wind breaks which help to improve yields of many

In the Bago region too, with an area of about 2558 ha planted with cashew, commercial
plantations are encouraged. Total rainfall and its distribution is also less than the high rainfall
regions of the country, especially in Taungoo and Pyay areas. Low temperatures in January -
February also affect the reproductive phase. With proper soil and moisture conservation
measures, productivity of plantations can be improved in the Bago region.

About 516 ha are planted with cashew in Kayin State. Due to its close proximity to Mon
State, agro-climatic conditions are somewhat similar except the fact that minimum
temperatures rarely go down below the critical level of 18° C. Consequently, yields as high
as 294 kg per ha are realized in Kayin State.

In Rakhine State, rainfall is high but the region experiences a long dry period. Temperatures
in the cold months of January - February drop well below the optimum. This causes poor fruit
set in Kachin State, Shan State and Sagaing Division where temperatures are as low as 9°C
in addition to drought conditions. Fog and frequent misty conditions also contribute to the low
productivity observed in these regions.
Large-scale plantations can also be observed in Ayeyarwady Division which has a total
extent of 2,353 ha. In this region too, lesser rainfall with poor distribution is experienced and
minimum temperatures go down below 17°C. With proper selection of adapted varieties and
appropriate management practices, productivity can be improved in this region.

In summary, it may be mentioned that the high potential areas for cashew production are in
Taninthayi Division followed by Mon State. With proper management, plantations can be
developed to produce satisfactorily in Ayeyarwady, Yangon, Bago and Kayin State.
Production of cashew in Sagaing, Rakhine, Kachine and Shan States may be restricted to
homesteads along with other tree species to supplement small - farmer incomes.

2.3 Varietal Situation

Almost all cashew plantations in Myanmar have been raised from unselected seedling
progenies. Low production and productivity is mainly attributed to this reason and is
considered to be the primary constraint in cashew development. Vegetatively propagated
planting material of proven germplasm sources would be the logical alternative if available.
With the prevailing situation however, this is not the case and for the time being, use of
seedling material may have to continue.


In tree crops, it is essential to establish plantations with planting material of known progenies
which can respond to improved management technologies. Such proven material adapted to
the different soil and climatic conditions is not available at present in Myanmar.
Consequently, neither the government nor the private sector is able to establish cashew
nurseries of superior quality planting material for distribution to growers.


4.1 Land Preparation

From 1982-1992 the government was responsible for the establishment of cashew
plantations in the different States and Divisions of the country. With the change of policies in
recent times, the private sector is being encouraged to develop plantations of cashew and
other perennial crops. During the period of government control, land preparation was carried
out on a systematic basis except the production of planting material which was used to
establish orchards. When farmers plant cashew orchards, land clearing is confined to crop
rows where clearing and de-stumping is carried out in strips of 3-4m width leaving the rest of
the vegetation intact in order to minimize expenditure. Only a few farmers clear the land
completely and use the land for inter-cropping with crops such as sweet potato, sesame,
maize and peanut. This cropping system is continued for the first 5 years during the life of the
young cashew plantations.

4.2 Conservation Measures on Sloping Lands

Sloping terrain in some cashew growing areas are prone to soil erosion. Adequate
conservation measures such as terracing and bunding need to be carried out. Soil and water
conservation activities are an essential part of the production technology followed in such
areas where the top soil and surface runoff have to be conserved. Most of the cashew lands
in Myanmar come under this category and cashew plantations are generally established on
degraded slopes with poor fertility. Although these measures are advocated, most farmers
continue to grow the crop without the usual conservation measures such as bunds, terraces,
inverted crescent basins, catch pits etc.
4.3 Planting Season

Since cashew planting is done in Myanmar when soil moisture is adequate, the planting
season coincides with the onset of rains. The main monsoon season occurs from May to
September sometimes extending to October while the rest of the year is relatively dry. The
dry season promotes the fruiting cycle and helps to harvest fruits under ideal conditions. In
some areas drought conditions prevail, often affecting the development of the cashew tree
and adversely affecting the fruiting cycle.

In most orchards in Myanmar when direct seeding or ‘seed-at-stake’ method is followed,
seeds are planted during the month of April, prior to the onset of rains. This gives young
seedlings sufficient time to develop a strong tap root system before the advent of the dry
season from November. If seedlings are used, plantations are established usually in the
months of May - June when regular rains are experienced. Most farmers adopt the direct
seeding method which is often carried out too late to be able to benefit from the early rains.

4.4 Spacing

In earlier plantations established by the government from 1987, hedge-row planting at a
spacing of 12m x 2m was carried out. This enabled the rapid build up of tree canopies and
promoted higher production from the early years of the crop. The current practice followed by
the private sector uses spacing that may vary from 4m x 4m to 7.5m using the triangular or
square planting method which often leads to severe inter-plant competition and mutual

4.5 Opening of Pits and Planting

In the State plantations, pits were dug in a systematic manner after lining out and pegging
the planting points. Pits were usually dug to a size of 60cm x 60cm to a depth of 60cm for
both ‘seed-at-stake’ as well as polybag seedlings. When farmers plant their cashew
orchards, very little attention is given to proper preparation of pits to receive seeds or plants.
Very often, seeds/seedlings are placed in shallow pits and sometimes, direct seeding is done
by directly dibbling seeds into uncultivated land. Farmers also resort to planting more than
one seed at each planting point which often results in more than one tree. This causes
severe competition between plants that results in poor yields.


5.1 Training and Pruning of Cashew Trees

Cashew trees require some training and pruning in the initial years in order to develop
canopies that will not cause mutual shading. Lower branches, leader shoots and water
shoots are pruned to train the plants to the required shape that will give higher productivity.
Despite these recommendations, most farmers in Myanmar do not prune or train their

5.2 Fertilizer and Manure Application

Observations have shown that cashew trees respond well to the application of fertilizers.
Farmers in cashew growing areas however, seldom apply fertilizers. If at all, a few farmers
may apply organic manures and green manures which are essential in degraded soils to
supplement depleted nutrients.

5.3 Weeding
Weeding operations are essential in cashew orchards to minimize competition for water and
light. Weeding practices vary from region to region. When orchards are inter-cropped,
weeding is assured, in other instances slash weeding is carried out once or twice in a year.
In other areas, there is total neglect of cashew orchards, rendering them almost inaccessible
and difficult to manage.

5.4 Mulching

This operation is seldom practiced in cashew orchards, unlike in rubber plantations. Since
weed growth around cashew tree trunks compete for moisture, some farmers remove weed
growth and thatch the soil to provide some mulch. Whilst this practice is beneficial, it is hardly
followed by cashew growers.

5.5 Cover Cropping

Although recommendations have been made to establish cover crops, especially on the
degraded slopes in many parts of the country, this practice is not yet popular among cashew
farmers in Myanmar, with the result that soil erosion is severe in cashew plantations.

5.6 Inter-Cropping

Since inter-cropping has many economic benefits to cashew growers, this system of farming
is of significance as it reduces weed competition and helps maintain fertility of orchards.
Several inter-crops are taken by some farmers, predominantly, annual crops such as sweet
potato, sesame, peanut, maize, cassava, pigeon pea etc. In some areas other tree crops
such as Jack fruit, mango and fuelwood trees are grown in association with cashew. Growing
leguminous tree crops could add to the fertility of cashew orchards.

5.7 Supplementary Irrigation

This operation is yet to be practiced in Myanmar and there is a need to conduct research on
this subject to improve production. It has been observed that a 61 percent increase in yield
was obtained when oil palm was irrigated and fertilized in Mon State. Similar positive results
may be possible through supplementary irrigation of cashew.

5.8 Plant Protection

As cashew cultivation expands, there is a need to record the population dynamics of various
pests and diseases that attack cashew. Although no incidence of serious pest and disease
outbreaks have been reported, incidence of root and stem borer is common in all plantations.
Phytosanitary measures such as removal of dead wood and swabbing with a 1:4 mixture of
coal tar and kerosene up to 1m of trunk have been recommended. Sporadic incidence of
shoot tip caterpillar and leaf webber was also noticed but the present level of infestation does
not cause economic injury in cashew. This is easily controlled by the application of 0.05 %
endosulfan spray.


Since most of the cashew plantations were established from 1980 onwards, there are only a
few orchards that have reached the age of 25-30 years when replacement becomes
necessary. Rejuvenation of such trees is also possible by top working with superior clones.
In the local context however, these operations are virtually impossible for the following
reasons: Firstly, there are no known selections of superior progeny lines that could be
recommended for replacing old trees either in the form of seed sources or clones for top
working. Secondly, farmers are reluctant to remove old trees as long as they provide some
economic benefit. Thirdly, growers have little technical knowledge of rejuvenation techniques
such as top working with clonal material. A strong research and extension backstopping is
therefore needed to assist cashew farmers.


7.1 Harvesting

Farmers prefer to harvest fruits before they drop in order to prevent them from theft. This
often results in poor quality as immature nuts are harvested. These harvested nuts are dried
and sold to traders who process the nuts into kernels using manual labor. These kernels are
then sold in the local market through retail outlets.

7.2 Processing

Local processing is carried out by two methods. The first method consists of roasting about
500 nuts at a time on a 3 ft diameter roasting pan mixed with fine sand for about 15 - 20
minutes. After the roasting process, individual nuts are cracked with a wooden mallet to
separate the kernels. After drying the split nuts, the kernels are removed by hand or, if
necessary, with the aid of a knife. In some instances, the nuts are roasted in a perforated
metal pan.

The second method of processing is similar to that followed in Thailand. The flow chart for
the processing is as follows:

Dry Raw Nuts Þ Steam Roasting       Þ (Cooling (1-3 Hours) or
               (30 - 60 Min)          (overnight)
                                      Shelling Þ Shells
                                      (Shelling Machine)
                                      (50° - 80°C for 4 - 12 hours)
                                      Cooling (2 - 3 Hours)
Cartoning    Ü Packing in LDPE Bags Ü Hand Peeling Þ Testa removal

The recovery of whole dried peel kernel to raw nut is 20 - 25 % and about 3 % broken
kernels. No grading is carried out in Myanmar except into whole kernels and broken kernels.

7.3 Production and Productivity

Total production of cashew in 1995 - 96 was 2114 tons at a productivity level of 253.36 kg
per ha. This yield is relatively low when compared to that of India and other countries.
Statistics on area of production and yields of cashew in Myanmar are presented in Table 3.
As can be observed from this data, Taninthayi Division has the highest productivity of 477.33
kg per ha because of the favorable agro-ecological conditions in that area of the country.
With better quality planting material and management practices, the productivity level of this
area can be further increased.
Ayeyarwady Division appears to have the second highest productivity level with 433.39 kg
per ha which may not reflect the true picture, as Yangon and Bago Divisions with similar
climatic conditions have much lower productivity.

Kayin State recorded a productivity level of 294 kg per ha. These yields can be considered
as low and varietal improvement and better management practices could enhance the yields

Low temperatures during the reproductive phase may be the cause for the low yields
recorded in Mon State which average around 67.06 kg per ha. Similar conditions in Yangon
and Bago Divisions gave yields as low as 40.42 kg ha and 11.18 kg per ha, respectively. In
addition to low temperature effects, total rainfall experienced in these areas is generally low
and distribution somewhat erratic. If yields are to be increased in these areas, new
production technologies need to be introduced.

Unfavorable weather conditions also affect yields in Rakhine State (82.92 kg per ha), Kachin
State (33.8 kg per ha), Shan State (70 kg per ha) and Sagaing Division (198.71 kg per ha).
Only homestead planting of cashew, in association with other tree species, is recommended
for such areas to provide a supplementary income for small farmers.


By and large, the marketing system for cashew remains undeveloped and unorganized. As in
the case of other agricultural commodities, cashew nut is sold by small farmers to local
traders who in turn either sell the produce to large-scale processors or process into kernels,
often using family labor. Prices are highly variable and, in the absence of any grades or
standards, kernels are arbitrarily divided into whole kernels and broken kernels. The
relatively good quality whole kernels are marketed in Thailand while the broken kernels are
sold in the local market. There are no growers’ organizations or cooperatives to assist
farmers in the disposal of their produce. Since trading is freely done within the country, an
export/import marketing information system does not exist.


The government of Myanmar has laid down an ambitious expansion plan for rubber, oil palm
and cashew. Of these, the expansion of rubber is progressing satisfactorily with an annual
increase of 20,000 ha and cashew has a targeted annual increase of 3,000 ha. The pace of
increase for cashew however, is rather slow when compared to rubber. In any event,
although some constraints exist, a gradual expansion of cashew can be envisaged, since it
has a special ecological niche where rubber cannot thrive. It is also popular among farmers
as it requires very little care and provides an appropriate income for much less investment.


10.1 Role of Myanmar Perennial Crop Enterprise

Recognizing the importance of tree crops in the economy of the country, the Myanmar
Perennial crops Enterprise (MPCE) was formed under the Ministry of Agriculture and
Irrigation (MOAI) for the development of perennial crops, especially in the private sector. A
project directed to assist private farmers was implemented with the establishment of the
Applied Research Center for Plantation crops (ARCPC). Due to staff shortage and the
deficiencies in technology knowhow on cashew production techniques and deploying more
resources to rubber, MPCE and its affiliate ARCPC are unable to provide extension and
technology support to cashew farmers. These constraints have become a serious setback for
the cashew industry. MPCE should therefore organize research and extension services to
the cashew industry to assist prospective growers.

10.2 Technical Knowledge of Farmers

The present cultural and processing practices, from land preparation to processing of
kernels, need major improvements. This is important because farmers have only a limited
knowledge on the techniques of cashew production. These problems can be effectively
solved by organizing field demonstrations to popularize new technologies and conducting
farmer training classes on cultivation aspects and vegetative propagation methods. The
extension services need to develop appropriate extension messages and transfer
technologies through visits and information packages to growers. MPCE should be
mandated to provide these services to cashew growers.

10.3 Planting Material Supply

Established varieties of proven yield potential and adapted to different regions are not
available in Myanmar. All cashew plantations have been raised from unselected bulk seeds.
Plantations with inferior genetic material are not cost effective to maintain. Introducing exotic
clonal material may also be inadvisable as their adaptability and performance have to be
initially tested and verified under local conditions before distribution among farmers.

The best option would be to select mother trees of outstanding local germplasm from
different regions. For selection of mother trees, the criteria should be a compact canopy,
intensive branching, high flowering intensity per unit area, high ratio of female flowers to
male flowers per panicle, a productivity in excess of 500 fruits per tree and an individual nut
weight of more than 7 g. In each region at least 10 mother trees should be selected and
progeny trials organized to evaluate their performance.

In the short term, scions of the best 10 trees in each region should be collected and 200
grafts prepared. These clonal progenies should be planted in blocks and seeds distributed
for establishment of new plantations.. The seeds from such clones would be a better
alternative to open pollinated bulk seed. Based on the performance of these clonal blocks,
these could be used as future budwood sources for raising grafted plants.

10.4 Cashew as a Potential Crop for Farmers

When judged on the basis of free market prices, the average gross profit margin per ha per
year of a cashew crop grown under average production levels, is not competitive with other
tree crop enterprises such as rubber or oil palm. In order to make the crop attractive to
farmers, all effort should be used to increase productivity of the crop.

Hedge-row planting is one method to achieve this. It has been demonstrated that cashew
trees of mature plantations established on the square planting system do not show any
differences in yield per unit area even if the spacing varies from 6 to 15 m. A considerable
improvement in productivity can, however, be achieved by arranging the planting pattern in
hedge-rows at 12m x 2m. The increased yield is due to the increased canopy surface per
unit area. To maintain the increased canopy surface, alternate hedge-rows have to be
replanted after 12 to 14 years. When these hedge-rows have matured and before their
canopies merge with the older planting, the latter crop needs to be removed by the 20th year.
A second approach would be to make a gradual improvement of the quality of planting
material supplied to farmers so that in a few years, superior genetic material will be used by
most farmers.

     Of all the areas identified for cashew production, Taninthayi Division has the ideal
      rainfall and optimum distribution for highest productivity.
     Although Mon State has satisfactory rainfall, it has a few months of dry weather. With
      proper moisture conservation measures, reasonably good production can be realized.
     In Ayeyarwady, Yangon and Bago Divisions as well as in Kayin State, plantations can
      be improved through the application of better technologies.
     Cashew production in Sagaing Division, Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States may be
      confined to homestead-level production only.
     For the time being, it is apparent that only seed can be used for propagation.
      Vegetative propagation may be resorted to, but this technique can be useful only
      when clonal material is available to the production system.
     It is recommended that clonal seed gardens be established as soon as possible.
      Superior selections from these could be used as budwood sources for vegetative
     Training programs on cultivation techniques and to train farmers in vegetative
      propagation should be started as soon as possible.
     Agronomic practices pertaining to land development and orchard establishment
      should be systematically carried out to ensure the best conditions for cashew
     Conservation measures including terracing and catch pits for soil and moisture
      conservation on sloping lands should be followed.
     If orchards are to be established directly from seed by the ‘seed at stake’ system, it
      should be carried out before the advent of the monsoons in April. However, for
      nursery grown seedlings, the month of May or beginning of June would be ideal for
     Plantations raised prior to 1987 with 7.6 m triangular or square planting methods
      need thinning of diagonal/alternate rows. De-topping to a height of 3m and light
      pruning of weak plants should also be carried out.
     Planting pits and staking of young plants should be carried out according to standard
      practices; growth of plants will be seriously affected or even succumb if seed is
      directly dibbled without opening planting pits.
     Training and pruning practices need to be followed in the early years of orchard
      establishment if higher yields are to be realized.
     Since no chemical fertilizers are currently being applied to cashew, it is beneficial to
      encourage the application of organic manures.
     Regular weeding of cashew orchards is recommended to minimize competition for
      water and sunlight.
     Cover-cropping of sloping lands is highly recommended since the top soil of these
      environmentally vulnerable areas can be conserved.
     Inter-cropping of cashew orchards should be encouraged as it indirectly helps the
      cashew and also provides an additional income to growers.
     Some investigations on the application of supplementary irrigation to cashew should
      be initiated.
     Plant protection studies to determine the range of pests and diseases that afflict the
      cashew crop need to be carried out, and effective control measures should be
      determined, if necessary.
     Current processing techniques, especially at village level, should be refined to
      improve quality and processing efficiency.
     Based on the mandate given to M.P.C.E, the organization should carry out
      appropriate research and extension activities on cashew, and there is also an urgent
      need to improve the technical capabilities of M.P.C.E staff.
There is scope for development of cashew production in Myanmar although the crop is not,
at present, so attractive to farmers as compared to other tree crops like oil palm and rubber.
To achieve this development, there should be a strong government backing to assist the
growers. Financial and technical assistance from donor organizations could be very
beneficial to the cashew industry.


1. Bhaskara Rao, E.V.V, 1994. Cashew Cultivation in Myanmar, FAO Consultancy Report.

2. Department of Agricultural Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, The Union of
Myanmar, 1996. Information Report on Myanmar Agriculture.

3. Eijnanten, Van L.L.M, 1985. Development of Cashew (Burmese: Thiho Thayet Si) in
Burma, FAO Consultancy Report.

4. Mathew, A.G, 1994. Cashew Processing, FAO Consultancy Report.

5. Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, The Union of Myanmar, 1996 -
97. Review of the Financial, Economic and Social Conditions for 1996 - 97.

6. Myanmar Plantations, Singapore Pte Limited, Singapore, 1997. Project Report on
Development of Cashew Plantations in Myanmar.

7. Ohler, I.G, 1975. Cashew, Development of Agricultural Research, Royal Tropical Institute,

8. Tin Saung, U, 1997. Country Report on Oil Palm Development in Myanmar.

[6] Deputy General Manager, Myanmar Perennial Crop Enterprise, Ministry of Agriculture
and Irrigation, Union of Myanmar.
      THE PHILIPPINES - Concepcion A.E. Magboo[7]

Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.), locally known as ‘kasoy’, is one of the most important
nut crops in the Philippines. It is a versatile crop with many economic uses in the food
industry as food and feed. Presently, only the nut is given attention by cashew growers as it
commands a good demand in the market among domestic consumers. In addition, cashew
nut is exported to Europe and other Asian countries. In 1995, the Philippines exported 1,124
tons of raw and processed nuts valued at US $ 879,573; India was the major buyer (64 %) of
raw nuts, and France in the form of processed and preserved nuts (Table 1).

During the same year, the country imported 48.92 tons of cashew nuts amounting to an FOB
value of US$ 199,345 (Table 2). The raw nut requirement was mainly supplied by Singapore;
the processed kernels and preserved products came from Singapore (47 %), USA (27 %),
and Taiwan (17 %). Cashew has a high potential for commercial cultivation as there is a
steady demand for nutritious food items and an expanding market for processed and other
value added cashew-based products.


Cashew is grown in most regions of the country mainly as a backyard crop or as a
component of many small-scale diversified orchards. Palawan is the leading production
center where more than 90 percent of the 2.6 million bearing trees are found. Other
important areas are Llocos Region, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao and Western Visayas.

In these areas, most of the bearing trees are of local origin. However, for new plantings,
predominantly in Palawan, the recommended superior varieties such as Mitra, Recto and
Fernandez have been used (Table 3).

Table 1. Philippines Exports of Cashew, 1995
                  Country                    Volume (kg) FOB Value (US$)
1. Cashew nuts (fresh/dried) - shelled/peeled 1,122,428          865,627
  China                                          262,000         231,750
  Hongkong                                       100,000          69,720
  India                                          760,428         564,197
2. Cashew nuts - processed/preserved               1,946          13,846
  Canada                                             180             782
  Taiwan                                             147           2,063
  France                                             787           6,037
  TTP                                                767           4,470
  Others                                              65             494
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics, 1995

Table 2. Philippines Cashew Imports, 1995
                 Country                     Volume (kg) FOB Value (US$)
1. Cashew nuts (fresh/dried - shelled/peeled       3,088          23,262
 Republic of China                                 1,145           1,071
 Singapore                                         1,943          22,191
2. Cashew nuts - processed/preserved              45,841         176,083
 Republic of China                            26,886           34,621
 Hongkong                                      1,140            4,685
 Singapore                                     9,916           83,161
 USA                                           7,899           53,616
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics, 1995

Table 3. Recommended/Promising Cashew Varieties in the Philippines
 Variety   Apple      Nut    Kernel       Kernel    Total Soluble Average Prod.        Apple
          Weight (g) Weight Weight (g) Recovery (%) Solids (%) Per Tree (kg)*          Colour
Mitra        146.39    13.43     3.74         27.84         13.08           9.67      orange
Fernandez    117.48    11.93     2.94         24.64         13.28           6.90      orange
CIG          129.00    12.78     3.55         27.77         15.84           7.38      orange
Callwag       79.48    11.71     3.10         26.47         13.88           7.02      yellow/
Recto          70.22     10.13       2.96         29.22         12.36            7.93  red/
Source: Cashew Varieties, STARRDEC Leaflet, 1996

* Seven-year-old trees


Propagation of cashew in the Philippines is either from seed or through cleft grafting. Most of
the existing cashew orchards were established using seed from selected mother trees of
superior performance. With the initiation of a government program for establishment of scion
groves using recommended varieties, the importance of planting grafted plants has been
emphasized to cashew farmers.

At present, the recommended varieties are being propagated in government nurseries in
Palawan, Rizal and Romblon, DA - Region VI, the Western Luzon Agriculture College
(WLAC) and the University of the Philippines - Los Banos (UPLB). Most of the plants are
grafted using the stocks of any variety with scions from the recommended varieties.


As in the case of other perennial crops, land preparation is carried out in the conventional
way by cashew farmers. After clearing the land, staking is done at spacings ranging from 5 to
10 meters depending on the preference of each farmer who may use the land for other inter-
crops while the young cashew is being established. The square system of planting is usually
practiced since it is easy to layout and allows sufficient space for other crops. Farmers are
aware that land clearing and preparation can be conveniently done during the dry season
before the onset of the rainy season.


While cashew plants are still small, inter-cropping with annual crops contributes to the
effective management of the land. Very few farmers apply manure or fertilizer directly to the
cashew crop. However, for new plantings using recommended varieties, farmers are
beginning to realize that the potential yield of a good variety can be attained only through
proper management practices such as weeding, fertilizer application etc. Owners of large
cashew plantations practice pruning, especially when it is evident that compact canopies and
clean culture minimizes pest infestation.
Many insect pests attack the cashew at all the growth stages. The most common insect
pests are termites, leaf miner, twig and root borers and the tea mosquito. The plant diseases
commonly found in cashew are anthracnose, especially when intermittent rains occur during
the flowering and fruiting stages. Other diseases are damping off and root rot of seedlings.
Farmers who own large plantations seldom apply any chemical control measures except at
the nursery stage. Some control is brought about by under brushing cashew orchards at the
onset of flowering which helps to eliminate alternate hosts that harbor pests.


Replanting is practiced by cashew farmers in Palawan. However, very few farmers do
rejuvenation of old orchards.


In the Philippines, cashew trees flower from November to March, while the harvest season is
from February to May and may extend up to early June. The quality of nuts and yield is
dependent on weather conditions during the fruiting stage. If it rains during the reproductive
phase, poor quality nuts are produced. Fruits are usually harvested manually, although a
number of farmers wait for the fruits to drop as the main concern of farmers is the nut. Nuts
are picked from the ground, separated from the cashew apple, cleaned and dried.

In places where cashew apples are processed into juice, wine and other delicacies, fruits are
harvested using a pole with a wire hook attached to its end. The pole is provided with a
shallow net or cloth bag to catch the detached fruits.


Cashew is mainly marketed as raw nut to local traders and processors. Some growers
process cashew nuts into roasted splits and whole kernels and sell them directly to
consumers, wholesalers or retailers. Most of the raw nuts shipped to Metro Manila are
processed for use by food manufacturers.

The local traders or wholesalers employ local agents to collect nuts from different areas.
Some traders go directly to farmers to buy cashew nuts and transport the produce to
processors. Some of the wholesalers also export raw nuts.

In most villages, farmers are not yet organized to market their raw produce or processed
products. With the introduction of a government program to provide assistance, especially
through farmer organizations, the trend now is for farmers to formally organize themselves
and affiliate the organization with the Cooperative Development Authority. This supports also
the marketing activities of farmers.


The projected local demand for cashew nut alone by the year 2000 is about 5,600 tons. With
the 5.4 % annual growth rate of world cashew nut exports, the market for the commodity is
still enormous.

With the agro-industrial development program of the country and the government information
drive on products that may be derived from cashew besides the use of the kernel as food,
cashew has great potential for development. The utilization of cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL)
in the industry is an ongoing research and development program in both private and
government sectors.
The vast areas for reforestation and the agro-forestry program of the Philippine government
will be a good avenue to expand cashew development. Cashew is a good crop for
reforestation, especially in coastal areas that are prone to wind erosion. The crop requires a
distinct dry season which normally coincides with its flowering and fruiting cycles. There are
many regions in the country that have similar climatic regimes.


Since cashew can assure a good income, considering the range of products it can give from
the nut alone, the problems facing the production sector need to be given some attention.
These include the limited supply of grafted plants of recommended varieties; occurrence of
pests and diseases, especially anthracnose during the reproductive phase; low level of
knowledge of farmers on production and post-harvest technologies brought about by poor
communication links to production areas; and the lack of financial resources for farmer
groups to embark on processing of their crop of nuts and cashew apples.


It is inevitable that cashew production will improve with the availability of vast natural
resources available for the development of the crop. The increasing domestic requirements
for food confectioneries for the nut alone and eventually for cashew apples can assure a
good income for cashew farmers, especially if village-level processing can be developed for
the crop.

The agro-forestry program of the government has given priority to promote cashew as one of
the candidate crops to be grown. This will accelerate the development program for cashew. It
is important therefore, that the technology transfer, promotion and dissemination of
production technologies including cultural management of the crop be given priority in the
development programs on cashew. The information and the technology application for this
crop are very important to the cashew industry.

Furthermore, research and development in cashew production and post-harvest activities
have to be strengthened to offer the new technologies to the cashew industry. The utilization
of various by-products will undoubtedly motivate farmers to embark on expanding cashew
production. Market linkages for processed products and by-products have to be established
through the assistance of government Institutions. The Philippines is one of the few countries
that has a great future to develop cashew production given the right research and
development support from the relevant organizations.

[7] Research Management Fellow and Assistant Consortium Director, STARRDEC,
PCARRD, 9210 Batong Malaki, Los Banos, Laguna 4030, Philippines.
           SRI LANKA - G.B.B. Surendra[8]

Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) was introduced from Brazil to Sri Lanka by the
Portuguese in the 16th century. It is found that more than half of the cashew extent is confined
to the dry zone of the country. Cashew is becoming an important cash crop for farmers in Sri
Lanka where there is great potential for increased production for the local market as well as
for export. The crop needs more attention in terms of improvement of its management in
order to attain higher yields. The development of the cashew industry in the country is the
responsibility of the Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation under the Ministry of Plantation

In the dry zone of the country there are about 2 million ha of agricultural land that is presently
undeveloped, and which could be used for cashew production. It is encouraging to note that
there is a government policy shift to promote commercial farming from the subsistence
agriculture the country has traditionally followed in the past. With increased production from
the use of improved varieties and agro-techniques, cashew production is bound to increase,
which will enhance local consumption and promote more exports. This will help in improving
the quality of life and a higher standard of living of the farming community and provide
greater employment for the agricultural sector.

Sri Lanka is primarily an agricultural country where this sector plays a significant role in the
country’s economy, accounting for nearly 23 % of the GNP earning about 19 % of foreign
exchange. Per capita income at present is US$ 550. In 1993, Sri Lanka earned Rs. 341.9 m
from cashew exports.

The cashew tree begins bearing from the third year onwards and peak bearing is reached by
the eighth year. Normal life span of a tree is about 30 years. The flowering season starts by
November and continues up to March with subtle variations in the bearing habit in different
agro-ecological regions. The most important climatological factor for the dry zone cashew
farmer is the sufficiency and reliability of the annual rainfall cycle. Average rainfall of the dry
zone usually varies from 889 mm to 1524 mm derived from the North-East and South-West
monsoons. The cropping seasons of Maha (October-January) and Yala (March-June)
coincide with the two monsoons respectively.


Cashew is cultivated in almost all the districts in the country. However, the extents are
substantial in the dry zone areas, especially in the districts of Puttalam, Mannar, Vavuniya,
Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticoloa, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala and Hambantota. The total extent
of cashew in these districts is around 20,000 ha whereas in the rest of the districts, the extent
is estimated to be around 2,400 ha. Percentage distribution of extents under cashew by
cropping pattern and by district is given in Table 1.

Table 1. Extents of Cashew by District and by Cropping Pattern (in ha)
    District     Total Number of Total Extent of Total Extent Extent of Cashew According
                 Cashew Growing Cashew Growing      Under         to Cropping Pattern
                    Holdings       Holdings        Cashew      Pure     Mixed Scattered
                                                               Stand    Stand
Gampaha                      600            5,322       2,100      115    1,887       98
Kandy                       1,839               285           117          -             -     117
Matale                      3,476             1,584           411        168           204      39
Nuwara Eliya                  180               115            49          7             5      37
Galle                       1,529               793            81          -            34      47
Hambantota                 12,005             7,572         1,455        121         1,014     320
Kurunegala                 32,292            28,764         7,650      1,585         2,491   3,574
Puttalam (small            14,566            13,431         6,069      3,677         1,042   1,350
Puttalam                      124             1,354           951       874            59      18
Anuradhapura                5,771             4,052           791        377           130     284
Polonnaruwa                 2,836             2,237           575        109           324     142
Badulla                       402               499           105          -             3     102
Moneragala                  1,411             1,846           302         87           150      65
Ratnapura                     778             1,222           151         16             -     135
Total                      77,809            69,076        20,807      7,136         7,343   6,328

Cashew is mainly found in home gardens or cultivated in small holdings. It is estimated that
out of 77,809 cashew growing allotments, 61,496 or 79 percent is cultivated in home
gardens. The average size of cashew holdings by district is presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Cashew Growing Holdings in Various Districts of Sri Lanka (in ha)
    District      Total Number of   No. of Home       Average       Total Extent Average Extent
                  Cashew Growing     Gardens          Extent of        Under     of Cashew per
                     Holdings        Growing          Holdings        Cashew        Holding
Kandy                         600              537           0.48           117               0.20
Matale                      1,839            1,696           0.86           411               0.22
Nuwara Eliya                  180              176           0.64            49               0.27
Galle                       1,529            1,230           0.52            81               0.05
Hambantota                 12,005            8,510           0.63         1,455               0.12
Kurunegala                 32,292           25,983           0.89         7,650               0.24
Puttalam (small            14,566           11,752           0.92         6,069               0.42
Puttalam                      124                -          10.92              951            7.67
Anuradhapura                5,771           5,215            0.70           575               0.14
Polonnaruwa                 2,836           2,154            0.79           575               0.20
Badulla                       402             365            1.24           105               0.26
Moneragala                  1,411           1,221            1.31           302               0.21
Gampaha                     3,476           1,879            1.53         2,100               0.60
Ratnapura                     778             778            1.57           151               0.19
Total                      77,809          61,496            0.89        20,807               0.27

In the new plantations that were planted under a government subsidy scheme larger holdings
have been established with improved varieties such as ‘Kondachchi’, ‘Mannar’ and ‘Trinidad’.
Nearly 38 percent of the total crop area is covered by these improved varieties while 36
percent of the area is estimated to be under indigenous varieties. Estimated extent of
cashew by variety and district is given in Table 3.
Table 3. Distribution of Cashew Varieties in the Districts of Sri Lanka

     District       Kondachchi,       Batticoloa Shanthigudu Ulal & Mixed Indigenous       Total
                     Mannar &            (ha)        (ha)     Vital (ha)   types (ha)      (ha)
                    Trinidad (ha)                             (ha)
Gampaha                           -             -           -      -     -       2,100      2,100
Kandy                             8             -          13      -     3          93        117
Matale                           57             -         261      -   22           71        411
Nuwara Eliya                     11             -           4     12   12           10         49
Galle                             -             -           -      -     -          81         81
Hambantota                      287           474           -     65     -         629      1,455
Kurunegala                    3,270         1,241         228   431      -       2,480      7,650
Puttalam (small               3,616             -         463   582      -       1,408      6,069
Puttalam(estates)               246           -             -       -    381           324    951
Anuradhapura                     33           -           177     364     27           190    791
Polonnaruwa                     260           -            81     234      -             -    575
Badulla                          30           -             2      26     11            36    105
Moneragala                       86          21             -     128     61             6    302
Ratnapura                        64           -             -       -      -            87    151
Total                         7,968       1,736         1,229   1,864    495         7,515 20,807


Over 80 percent of the planting material used by farmers are seedlings. Nurseries are raised
by the Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation through selected nurserymen. Softwood grafting is the
only vegetative propagation method practiced. Air-layering and budgrafting are also carried
out in a small way, especially for home gardens and for urban areas. Raising of seedling
nurseries commences in August-September and softwood grafting nurseries in May-June.
Grafting is usually carried out in August and 60-70 percent success is achieved. Mother trees
and scion wood are obtained from selected material maintained by the research division of
the Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation. Seeds are allowed to germinate in sand beds and are
later transferred to polybags.


In small holdings at village level, land is cleared of brush and trees using family labor during
the months of August-September. Most of the cashew growing lands are flat with less than 1
% slope and terracing is therefore, seldom practiced. In red-yellow latesols and sandy
regosol soils where larger canopies are formed, the usual spacing adopted by farmers is 40
ft x 40 ft. Spacing of 30 ft x 30 ft and 35 ft x 35 ft are given in soil types such as the reddish
brown earths where the soil is more compact and trees give smaller canopies. High density
planting is not commonly practiced by local farmers. Planting holes are dug before the
monsoon rains. The usual planting hole size recommended is 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft for polybag
seedlings as well as for grafted plants. The planting season coincides with the onset of rains
in October.


Pruning is carried out during the first four years when extra branches are removed and
cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) is applied to cut surfaces. Pennisetum polystachyon and
Imperata cylindrica are the common weeds in cashew plantations which often become a fire
hazard during the dry months. Slash weeding is usually practiced to control grass weeds.
Herbicides such as Grammoxone or Roundup are also used to a limited extent, especially at
nursery sites. State plantations also use rotary movers in between tree rows to control weed

Mulching with weed residue or tree loppings and sometimes with coconut husk is carried out
by many growers to keep under growth down and also conserve moisture during the dry
months. Creeping cover crops such as Peuraria phaseoloides, Centrosema pubescens and
bush cover crops such as Gliricidia maculata, Leucaena leucocephala and nitrogen fixing
trees such as Acacia mangium are the principal cover crops used in cashew growing areas.
Due to frequent fire hazards, most large-scale plantations have fire gaps laid down when
cover crops are grown.

Banana is a popular inter-crop in many cashew plantations. Pineapple, papaya,
pomegranate and coconut are also used as semi-perennial and perennial inter-crops in some
areas. The common annuals grown in cashew plantations are Legumes (cowpea, black
gram, green gram), oil crops (sesame, ground nut), and condiments such as hot pepper and

Cashew is a crop that requires low management as compared to other orchard crops. Where
manuring/fertilizing is adopted, it is mostly given at the pre-flowering stage. It has been
reported that only 3.8 percent of the cashew is being fertilized. The usual fertilizer
recommended is 2.5 kg of NPK (3:2:1) for mature trees and 1 % urea solution or locally
available foliar nutrients are recommended for nurseries.

Cashew is commonly cultivated under rainfed conditions and the use of supplementary
irrigation is extremely rare due to lack of water resources in the main cashew growing areas.
‘Pitcher’ irrigation was introduced some years back but has not made any significant impact
on production.

Pests and Diseases

The Tea mosquito (Helopeltis antonii) and Stem borer (Plocaederus ferrugineus) are the
major pests that attack the cashew. Pests of minor importance are the leaf miner
(Acrocercops syngramma), leaf and blossom webber (Macalla moncusalis) which cause
sporadic attacks in certain areas. Stem borer is controlled by removing damaged branches
and larvae manually followed by the application of CNSL mixed with an insecticide.
Population dynamics of the pest shows that July-August is the peak period of damage. The
Tea mosquito is most active during the months of November-January and is easily controlled
by the application of Sevin (carbaryl) in dust form or as wettable powder. In mature trees,
shoot die-back is the major disease and in nurseries the common problem is damping-off
disease which can be controlled with Captan or Benlate fungicide. During soft-wood grafting,
root rot may cause damage to young grafts which may also succumb to bark damage from
rats. The range of pests reported by growers is presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Percentage Distribution of Pests on Cashew in Growers’ Orchards

   District  Stemborer Helopeltis Both Unaffected by Diseases
Gampaha          94.40     66.70 66.70                    5.56
Kandy            98.10     83.00 83.00                    1.89
Matale           55.80     25.60 22.10                   40.91
Nuwara Eliya     92.50     75.00 70.00                    2.50
Galle                -      2.17      -                  97.83
Hambantota       55.30     11.30 11.30                   44.67
Kurunegala       76.40     42.60 36.30                   17.56
Puttalam          77.00      54.80 49.20                  18.60
Anuradhapura      57.20      33.20 24.00                  33.65
Polonnaruwa       70.90      17.70 12.70                  24.05
Badulla           89.70      64.10 59.00                   5.13
Moneragala        74.60      20.90 17.90                  22.39
Ratnapura         89.50      31.60 31.60                  10.53
Total             68.27      36.79 32.17                  27.90


Rejuvenation by top-working is not generally practiced in cashew orchards in Sri Lanka. After
approximately 30 years of age, old trees are removed and replanting is practiced. This is
usually done by shifting to the middle of avenues of the old crop rows to minimize soil


Cashew nut harvesting is usually carried out in the months of May - July by gathering fallen
nuts. In the peak season a typical farmer collects 35-40 kg per day. Harvested nuts are
cleaned and sun-dried for 3 days to reduce moisture to about 8-9 %.

The average yield per tree is about 4-5 kg under the present system of management while
the potential yield is around 10-14 kg. Use of unimproved planting material, poor distribution
of rainfall and damage from Tea mosquito during flushing and flowering stages could be
identified as the main causes for such low yields. Estimated cashew production and average
yield by district is given in Table 5.

Table 5. Estimated Production and Average Yield by District
        District          Bearing Extent Average Yield/ha Estimated Raw Nut Production (tons)
Gampaha                            1,563              474                                 742
Kandy                                 74              101                                   7
Matale                               286              228                                  65
Nuwara Eliya                          33              121                                   4
Galle                                 50              194                                  10
Hambantota                           942              203                                 191
Kurunegala                         6,190              241                               1,491
Puttalam (small holdings)          5,231              322                               1,682
Puttalam (estates)                   632              502                                 317
Anuradhapura                         500              372                                 186
Polonnaruwa                          180              140                                  25
Badulla                               50              273                                  14
Moneragala                           220              154                                  34
Ratnapura                             57              491                                  28
Total                             16,008              300                               4,796


A combination of manual and mechanical methods are employed in the processing of
cashew nuts in Sri Lanka, which helps to preserve the natural goodness of cashew kernels
and also results in very high percentage of whole nuts. More than 95 percent of cashew is
processed by women at cottage industry level, especially by hand shelling. The processing
carried out by the Cashew Corporation is a semi-mechanized technique. The raw nuts are
initially cooked in an autoclave and decorticated with manually operated cutting machines.
The kernels are then roasted in electric ovens under low heat for over three hours. The
kernels are then de-husked by removing the testa, then graded and packed within 24 hours.
CO2 or nitrogen gas is used in the packing process to eliminate any micro-organisms.
Grading is done into whole nuts, splits, large white pieces and Baby bits. These are then
packed in PVC canisters and polythene bags. Consumer packs of roasted and salted nuts
are also available at supermarkets and Airlines.

Sri Lanka cashew kernels are known for their consistently bigger size. Although the main
volume of kernels supplied to the world market comes in the small size of 320 counts, over
85 % of the Sri Lankan exports consist of the bigger counts of 180, 210 and 240. The
average price per kg is US$ 11 (FOB). Nearly 40 percent of total production is used for local
consumption and 60 percent is exported in bulk packages. Currently, the major buyers are
from the middle East. More buyers from Canada, USA, Israel, U.K. and Japan are
increasingly depending on Sri Lanka for their needs. Reasons behind this trend was well
summed up by the Spring Tree Corporation of USA when they declared that the tastiest
cashew in the world is the product from Sri Lanka. Exports of cashew kernel are presented in
Table 6.

Table 6. Cashew Exports from Sri Lanka (1981-96)

Year Quantity (Tons) Value (Million Rupees) Average Price (Rs./Kg)
1981         1,106.9                   73.5                  66.40
1982           616.8                   64.6                 104.73
1983           899.0                   83.7                  93.10
1984           128.2                   17.0                 132.61
1985           284.5                   41.2                 144.82
1986           503.4                   90.7                 180.17
1987         1,034.1                  195.6                 189.15
1988         1,116.2                  208.5                 186.79
1989         1,327.8                  244.4                 184.06
1990         1,281.0                  277.0                 216.24
1991         1,102.5                  289.7                 262.77
1992         1,062.1                  236.5                 222.67
1993         1,384.0                  341.9                 247.03
1994           389.5                  112.1                 287.80
1995           349.4                  112.7                 322.55
1996           255.1                   80.0                 313.73
                                                  (up to end Sept.)

The decline from 1994 is due to certain malpractices adopted by private processors to
adulterate whole cashew kernel grades using pasted splits and broken grades. These
practices briefly affected the Sri Lanka exports to the international market. At present,
legislation has been enacted to make it mandatory for private sector exporters to obtain a
clearance certificate from the Cashew Corporation prior to export.

The cost of production of cashew in Sri Lanka is much higher than other countries due to
high labor costs, low efficiency and lack of technical knowhow in the production of cashew.
There are also no growers’ organizations or Cooperatives to represent the interests of
cashew growers.
Better varieties which give bigger kernels and higher yield have been recently developed and
the industry has laid down stringent quality standards, in addition to training those involved
with production and processing from the private sector. These measures have been taken to
protect the cashew industry and exploit the export potential of the crop.


The following factors contribute to the development potential of the cashew industry:

      Large tracts of marginal land is available in dry zone areas which can be utilized by
       subsistence farmers to grow cashew as a cash crop and obtain gainful employment.
      It is a lucrative base for a small - scale industry in urban areas.
      The crop helps environmental stabilization whilst helping the country to earn valuable
       foreign exchange.
      When compared to other crops, cashew needs minimal inputs and production costs.
      Due to their chemical composition, cashew kernels have high keeping quality and
       good storability characteristics.
      In the first three years, young cashew plantations can be successfully inter-cropped
       to provide farmers with supplementary income until the crop gives economic yields.
      Many subsidy and credit schemes are available for cashew farmers. The Sri Lanka
       Cashew Corporation, the ADB funded Perennial crops Development Project, the
       Southern Development Authority and the Mahaveli Project are government assisted
       programs for improvement of crops such as cashew.


Cultivation Constraints

      Inferior germplasm and inadequate planting material of recommended varieties.
      Lack of knowledge on improved cultural and management practices.
      Variations in weather patterns, fire hazards and weed problems.
      Under-utilization of cashew orchards and losses due to poor post-harvest practices.

Institutional Constraints

      There is no price support system for cashew.
      Poor linkages with other agricultural organizations, both locally and internationally.
      Lack of credit facilities for the processing industry.
      High cost of inputs.

Technical Constraints

      Very weak research support for the development of cashew.
      Insufficient extension staff to make programs effective.
      Technology transfer programs are weak.

Socio-Economic Constraints

      Displacement of large number of cashew growers due to civil unrest.
      High unemployment and low incomes of cashew farmers.
      Poor market and physical infra-structure including storage, processing and transport
      Poor farm-gate prices during harvesting season.

Research and development activities should be strengthened to evolve appropriate
technology on breeding, soil testing, disease and pest control, irrigation systems, fertilizer
management and post harvest technology.

Extension services should be streamlined to keep pace with a market oriented economy.
There should be better inter-agency coordination to ensure timely action on supply of inputs.
In view of the increased involvement of women in the cashew industry, more women in
development programs should be initiated.

Attention must be given to development of road networks and transportation, and better
storage and processing facilities. The government should seriously consider establishing a
price support system to help small-scale cashew farmers.

[8] Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation, 349 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.
           THAILAND - Suwit Chaikiattiyos[9]

Cashew was introduced to Southern Thailand in 1901 from adjacent areas of Malaysia from
where it spread all over the country. The crop began to be considered as having economic
importance to the country by 1984 following the government policy to reduce cassava
production by substituting with cashew, particularly for the growers in the North East. The
Cashew Research and Development in the North East Thailand project, partly supported by
the EC, was later formulated for the replacement of cassava production. Although cashew
shares only a small portion of the national economy, it is increasingly becoming important to
growers in the East, in terms of regional economy at present.


2.1 Area of Production

Thailand ranks as the third most important cashew producing country in Asia, while India
remains the main producer. Initially, major commercial planting areas were scattered in the
South, which were predominantly small-scale enterprises. However, in 1984 a rapid
expansion of area took place in the Northeast following the government policy, in agreement
with the EC, to reduce cassava production due to an international surplus of the commodity.
In addition, a number of extension projects were initiated by the government. Eventually, the
area under cashew substantially increased from 22,022 ha in 1983 to 61,748 ha in 1989, with
major areas in the Northeast such as Nakhonratchasima, Burirum and Si Sa Ket provinces,
and in the South in areas such as Ranong, Songkhla and Pattani provinces.

In 1991 however, cashew production greatly decreased, mainly due to poor fruit setting.
Either insect infestation or environmental stress may have been responsible for reduced
productivity. Consequently, a number of cashew trees, particularly in the North and Northeast
have been cut down and many orchards were neglected in 1991-92. Thailand had only
55,407 ha in 1994 with a total production of 58,359 t. Although planting areas in the North
and Northeast have declined since 1991, those in the East, particularly in Chon Buri
province, continued to increase leading to an expansion of small to medium-sized shelling
factories for processing of nuts.

2.2 Varieties

Popular cashew varieties grown in Thailand include Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2,
which are officially recommended by the Department of Agriculture (DOA), and Sirichai 25
which has been commercially released by a private company. In addition, at the beginning of
the national promotion project of cashew, seedlings of the composite variety Si Sa Ket A and
seedlings of Maboonkrong from the private sector were also recommended to growers due to
insufficient supply of grafted plants to satisfy growers’ requirements.
Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2 were developed following clonal selection. They were
recommended after results from yield comparison and regional yield trials indicated that they
are of good quality in terms of nut and kernel size, and 40 % higher yield than unselected
local varieties. The average nut yields of Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2 at year 11 are
about 33.4 and 25.0 kg per tree and the nut weights are 6.29 and 7.20 g, respectively. Both
selected clones have on average about 320 kernels per pound which is the international
market standard grade. Si Sa Ket composite A was derived from 10 selected clones
including Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2. Sirichai 25 had not been tried in the Northeast
before widespread planting began in this region. Early yields of young trees were good but
the Si Sa Ket varieties may well have yielded better under the same conditions. Among the
improved cashew varieties of Thailand, only the composite Si Sa Ket A has genetic variation
so that there is little likelihood of all trees becoming susceptible to a new strain of a disease
or pest. The potential yield for selected clones Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2 is shown in
Table 1. Yield potential and quality of different cashew varieties were investigated in 1987 at
four different locations. Results showed that the Si Sa Ket varieties were the most promising
(Table 2).

Table 1. Average Yield at Si Sa Ket of Recommended DOA Varieties (Kg/Tree)

   Varieties Year 3 Year 4 Year 7 Year 9 Year 11
Si Sa Ket 60-1 1.2   9.8    13.7 15.7     33.4
Si Sa Ket 60-2 1.7   6.9     9.6   10.1   25.0

Table 2. Yield and Quality of Different Cashew Varieties at Year 4 (Average of 12 Trees
from 4 Locations)

    Varieties  Yield (kg/tree) Nut Weight (g) Kernel Recovery (%) Number of kernels/lb
Si Sa Ket 60-1       4.4            6.6               26.7               263
Si Sa Ket 60-2       3.0            7.2               26.0               245
Composite SK-A       2.2            5.9               27.5               279
Sirichai 25          2.5            7.0               28.0               238
Maboonkrong          1.4            6.7               27.4               251
Local                1.4            5.4               28.1               302


Following the government policy to decrease cassava production by introducing cashew to
the farmers, particularly in the Northeast in 1981, the Si Sa Ket Horticultural Research Center
of the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), was responsible for the supply of planting
material. Both grafted plants and seedlings were produced. The grafted varieties using a
modified inarching method included Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2 which were released
by government agencies. A private company was also involved in cashew extension by
supplying grafted plants, namely Sirichai 25 to growers who obtained bank loans from the
Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives. In most cases, rootstocks were prepared from seeds
with high specific gravity since such seeds gave higher percentage of germination.

Propagation by marcotting, budding and from cuttings is also possible, but this is considered
to be too expensive, unreliable and more complex. In grafting, the rootstocks should be 2-4
months old and scions should be 8 to 10 cm long and of pencil thickness. The color of the
scion should be turning from green to brown and the top 4-5 leaves should be dark green
indicating proper maturity. A longitudinal cut of 3-4 cm is made on the scion on either side to
make a wedge and is inserted into the split on the rootstock and tied with polythene strips.
The grafts are kept in the shade for 3 to 4 weeks and later transferred to an open site to
allow new vegetative flushes to grow.


Cashew can be cultivated on a wide variety of soils in Thailand. However, for realizing better
yield potential, sandy loam soils without a hard pan are desirable. Although considered
drought tolerant, the tree requires a well drained soil with substantial moisture available for
the root zone if commercial yields are to be attained. This has been confirmed by the rapid
expansion of areas in the East where soil moisture content and relative humidity are
relatively higher than the North and Northeast. Furthermore, cultivation of cashew in the
South over a long time also substantiates the theory that sufficient moisture content assures
high yields.

It is strongly recommended that the crop be raised from grafted plants. Recommended
spacing is 6m x 6m except those trees grown from seedlings, particularly in the South. Pits
are opened to a size of 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm and manure is mixed before planting. It is
recommended that planting be started during the early rains in June to ensure maximum tree
survival. After year 8, every other tree in the row may be removed to allow the remaining
trees to spread their canopies without inter-row competition.


Cashew trees should be trained to one main stem. After branching begins, training may be
practiced to achieve a tree with one leader shoot of 0.5 - 1.5m. A major vegetative flush
follows the onset of the rainy season in May or June and flowering occurs at the growing tips
of terminal shoots within 3-4 months after the period of restricted growth in November and
December. Cashew may produce fruit at year 2 or 3 if trees are raised from grafted plants.
Light pruning need to be practiced soon after harvesting in April-May in order to allow new
vegetative flushes and to get rid of dead wood.

Guidelines for fertilizer application for cashew are presented in Table 3. Irrigation on cashew
is not generally practiced in Thailand. However, weeds are controlled at the time of orchard
establishment to reduce competition, and to later facilitate harvesting.

In large-scale plantations in the past, inter-cropping was considered fairly important since it
provided an income to growers during the initial years. Trials at the Si Sa Ket Horticultural
Research Center have indicated that sweet corn, groundnut and vegetables can be profitably
grown in the crop avenues during the initial years of orchard establishment.

Table 3. Fertilizer Recommendations for Cashew

Year Density (trees/ha) Type of Fertilizer Fertilizer Rate (kg/ha)
  1-2       280            12-24-12                  140
  3-5       280            15-15-15                  280
  6-8       280            13-13-21                  560
 8-12      140*            13-13-21                  550
12-20       140            13-13-21                  550
* Trees in between rows are removed at year 8.

Although cashew has been considered as a hardy crop that can withstand the onslaught of
pests and diseases, significant crop losses could be caused by them.
Thrips (Haplothrips sp.) can suck sap from tender shoots and inflorescence resulting in die-
back. The pest can be controlled with Carbosulfan at 30 ml per 20 l of water or carbaryl at 50
g per 20 l of water. Tea mosquito bugs (Helopeltis antonii) cause severe damage to the
tender shoots and inflorescence of the cashew tree, often leading to heavy economic loss of
the crop. Both adults and nymphs suck the sap from tender shoots, floral parts, cashew
apples and even from immature nuts. The pest can be controlled with either carbaryl at 20 g
per 20 l of water or with cyhalothrin at 10 ml per 20 l of water. Although insect infestation,
particularly thrips and mosquito bugs is reported on both the Maboonkrong and DOA
varieties, it is significant that the former types are more prone to attack by these pests than
the latter varieties. Stem borers (Plocaederus ferrugineus) cause damage in the form of
small holes in the collar region of the tree trunk which results in gummosis, yellowing and
shedding of leaves, drying of twigs and ultimately, the death of the tree. The pest can be
controlled effectively by mechanical removal of the larval stages in the early stages of the
infestation. The pest is also controlled by injecting carbaryl or ichlovos into the tunnels.
Severely affected trees beyond recovery should be cut and removed from the plantation.
Many other insects have been reported including aphids and mango shoot weevils. Control
measures using insecticides are possible, but alternating between different chemicals is
advisable in order to prevent the build up of resistance.

Damping off of seedlings can occur under wet conditions or due to poor drainage in the
nursery. Different fungi including Fusarium sp., Pythium sp., Phytophthora palmivora and
Cylindrocladium scoparium have been reported as causal organisms. The fungi attack either
the root or collar region or both, mainly at the tender seedling stage. Control measures
include provision of adequate drainage in the nursery and the use of benalaxyl. Anthracnose
(Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Botryodiplodia sp.) can infect the panicles by
penetrating through the wounds on panicles caused by sucking insects such as thrips. The
anthracnose pathogen penetrates the dead tissue. The fungus enters the fruit through the
stigma of flowers at the blooming stage. The disease is severe when rainy weather occurs
during flowering. Recommended control measures include removal of affected parts and
spraying trees with copper oxychloride or mancozeb at 40-50 gm per 20 l of water.


For rejuvenation of old trees, topworking can be done using scions from superior varieties.
This is being practiced in most cashew orchards in the South where trees were established
from unselected seeds. A two to three fold increase in yield in the third year after topworking
has been reported provided proper fertilizer application, regular chemical sprays and
weeding operations were practiced.


Mature nuts are manually harvested and collected over a period of 8-10 weeks in the months
of March-April. Fruits are usually allowed to drop during the first 4-6 weeks at the beginning
of the harvesting season. Nuts can later be picked from the trees. After separation from the
apples, nuts are cleaned in water and sun dried for 2-3 days to reduce the moisture content
before disposal.


In 1992, Thailand exported 3334 tons of raw nuts at a value of US$2.7 million and 102 tons
of kernels valued at US$55 million. Exports have however, greatly decreased since 1993
because of poor productivity, particularly in the North and Northeast. Production now almost
equals consumption and there is only a small net export trade. In 1995, export of raw nut and
kernel was only 70 and 79 tons, respectively. Any future increases in production may have to
find export markets.

The cashew nut shelling industry in Thailand is relatively small. There is only one company
(Maboonkrong) operating nut shelling on a large scale. Most cashew nuts produced in the
country are sold and sent across to factories in the East for shelling although there are
several local factories for each region. Processing starts from sun drying of nuts for 2-3 days.
Before shelling nuts are boiled for 2-3 hours. Shelling is done manually by hand and leg
operated shelling machines. The kernel is scooped out by means of a sharp needle. On
average one operator can shell 1-1.5 kg per hour depending on individual skill. After shelling,
kernels are oven-dried at 50°C in a home-made gas oven to reduce the moisture and to
loosen the adhering testa. Peeling of the testa is later done by hand. Then kernels are
graded into three grades, namely, Jumbo, A and B grades. Labor costs for shelling, peeling
of testa and grading amounts to about Baht 20-25 per kg of finished kernels. Although seed
coats and seed testa can be utilized, they offer only marginal returns. Cashew kernels are
usually sold to a central market in Bangkok and are then subsequently traded for domestic
consumption and export. In addition, particularly in small scale processing in the South, after
separating nuts from the fruit, the nuts are roasted to drive off the caustic cashew nut shell
liquid (CNSL) and then opened individually using hand shelling machines.


Although cashew was considered to be a low-potential crop as indicated by an obvious
decrease in planting extents, especially in the North and Northeast, it is increasingly
becoming an important commercial crop in the Eastern region. The market price of cashew in
this area remains high in comparison to other crops. It has also been found that the
productivity of trees in this area is much higher than those grown in the North and Northeast.
It is also noteworthy that farmers in the Eastern region have turned to cashew growing
instead of sugarcane which requires very high labor inputs, especially at harvest time.


During extension of cashew production in 1984, the major constraints included insect
infestation from thrips, mosquito bugs, stem borers, and disease infection from anthracnose,
all of which could be satisfactorily controlled by chemical application. In 1991, die-back of
panicles and insect problems became widespread and adversely affected productivity of
nuts. In addition, it was evident that trees with satisfactory flowering did not set fruit even if
chemical sprays were appropriately applied. It is probable that trees had undergone
environmental stress such as an extended drought period resulting in a marked drop in
relative humidity and/or higher day temperatures. This affected flowering, fertilization and
even fruit growth and development. Since the DOA varieties were mostly early types, they
had a better chance of evading drought conditions, in comparison to Maboonkrong varieties.
Nonetheless, under certain conditions, the DOA varieties which were selected for the wetter
regions were less adaptable to long droughts. Starting in 1985, BAAC in conjunction with a
commercial company, offered a medium term loan plan to farmers which resulted in a
successful extension effort to increase the management skills of farmers. Using improved
varieties, fertilizer and clean cultivation methods, farmers were given the technical knowhow
by extensionist who made regular visits. Production inputs were provided in kind by the
agency servicing the loan. Despite the fact that there was strong government backstopping
for the program, many farmers were unable to exploit the situation to their advantage due to
the poor production skills of workers.


Cashew development in Thailand has declined since 1991 due to poor productivity of
cashew orchards. Planting extents, particularly in the Northeast have rapidly decreased
whereas in the South the change has only been marginal. In the East however, cashew
production is expanding and several shelling factories have been installed which augurs well
for the future of this region. It is possible that cashew production will play a significant role in
the regional economy of the East.

Despite the relatively low cost of orchard establishment when seedlings are used, it is
recommended that grafted plants be used for new plantations. The recommended varieties
available now include Si Sa Ket 60-1 and Si Sa Ket 60-2 released by the DOA. In addition,
the agro-techniques recommended should be strictly followed if higher productivity is to be
Further research on cashew improvement would have to focus on development of better
adapted varieties with tolerance/resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses through
conventional and non-conventional breeding programs. Other problems that research need
to concentrate would be the physiological causes that affect fruit set. The germplasm thus
developed would not only benefit Thailand but the neighboring countries as well.

[9] Si Sa Ket Horticultural Research Centre, Muang District, Si Sa Ket 33000, Thailand.
          IN VIETNAM - Nguyen Minh Chau[10]

The cashew was introduced into Vietnam in the 19th century. It was originally grown in home
gardens as a shade tree. Cashew has been recognized as an industrial crop since about 10
years ago. Soil and climatic conditions in Quangnam-Danang province and further to the
South are considered suitable for cashew production. In 1980, the area under cashew
occupied only 30,000 ha. It has since gone up to 250,000 ha by 1996. The total production in
1996 was 122,070 tons with an export value of US$122,070 million for cashew kernel. At
present, many provinces in the South including Dongnai, Songbe, Tayninh and Binhthuan
are having large extents of cashew plantations in production.


In the early 1980s, the cashew tree was considered as a forest tree or a shade tree for home
gardens. Seedlings were mostly used as planting material and little care was given for its
culture. As a result, the crop gave very low yields and poor quality nuts. In August 1989
however, the crop was recognized by the government as an industrial crop and came under
the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1990, The Vietnam Cashew Tree Association was set up to
promote the development of the crop, and since then there has been a rapid increase in the
area of production (Table 1).

Cashew yields however, have not improved yet, mainly because of inferior germplasm, poor
management and aftercare of orchards which have resulted in low yields. In 1995-1998
about 30,000 ha of cashew trees were cut down and replaced by mango and longan; also
other trees in Songbe, Dongnai and Tayninh provinces due to their unstable yields and low


The most popular practice was selecting high yielding trees and using the seeds for planting.
This method has led to low yields as most progenies from such trees were not true to type.
However, since 1994, about 46 % of new cashew plantations have been planted with
selected clones raised vegetatively (Table 2).

Table 1. Area and Production of Cashew in Some Provinces of Vietnam

      Zones/Provinces        Area (‘000 ha) Production (‘000 tons)
                             1995a 1996b      1995        1996
1. Eastern Provinces         135.29 149.00      39.31        83.32
 Dongnai                      32.99 45.00       11.40        25.00
 Songbe                       77.54 82.00       16.22        45.00
 Tayninh                       7.51 15.00        7.64         8.40
 Baria-Vungtau                17.25 7.00         4.05         3.92
2. Central Coastal Provinces  21.12 61.00        5.26        26.70
 Binhthuan                    12.98 20.00        3.90        11.20
 Ninhthuan                     0.45 5.00         0.14         1.75
 Khanhhoa                      1.86 4.00         0.49         1.50
 Phuyen                               10.00                   3.50
Binhdinh                       5.86 7.00           0.67        2.50
Quangngai                      0.27 10.00          0.06        3.50
Quang-nam-Danang                      5.00                     1.75
3. Central Highland Provinces 28.44 27.00          3.93        9.50
Gilai                         11.48 10.00          0.30        3.50
Kontum                                5.00                     1.75
Daklak                         9.63 5.00           1.88        1.75
Lamdong                        7.34 7.00           1.75        2.50
4. Other Provinces             5.70 13.00          5.18        4.55
Total                        187.55 250.00        50.68      122.07
    Agricultural statistics, 1994-1995
    Donafood, 1996

Table 2. Variety Situation and Planting Density of Cashew Plantations

      Year        Varieties (%)          Density (trees/ha)
              Selected Unselected > 400 300-400 200-300 150-200
Prior to 1987       0.0       100.0 67.2    27.8      5.0      -
1988-1990           5.8        92.2 31.0    45.6     15.4    8.0
1991-1993          28.3        71.7 35.3    30.0     23.7   11.0
1994-1996          46.5        53.5 12.3    19.5     52.2   16.0
Source: Bien and Binh, 1997.

Cleft grafting is recommended for propagation of planting material while the best time for
grafting is from May to August (Donafood, 1996).


Cashew trees were usually established on degraded soils in the eastern provinces and
central coastal provinces of the South. The current spacing applied is 10m x 5 m (200
plants/ha). Before 1990 however, farmers resorted to high density planting as high as 400
trees/ha (Table 2). It was the general practice to add organic manure at the rate of 10-20
kg/planting hole.


Most of the cashew growers neither apply fertilizer nor prune their trees. This is mainly
because the low and unstable yields from their cashew crop does not encourage them to
manage their crop using such inputs. It has been estimated that only 37.7 % of the cashew
plantations were fertilized while the rest did not receive any fertilizer (Table 3). The survey
also revealed that the fertilized cashew yielded on average 155 kg more than the unfertilized
orchards with an overall yield of 698 kg/ha for the fertilized orchards and 543 kg/ha for the
unfertilized, respectively.

Table 3. Application of Modern Agro-Techniques for Cashew

 Technologies Percentage of Farmersa Applying Modern Agro-Techniques
Applied           Applied Yield (kg/ha)  Not Applied   Yield (kg/ha)
Fertilizerb        37.7        698           62.3           543
Pruning            56.5        672           43.5           672
Plant protectionc  21.7         -            78.3            -
    Total survey sample: 143 farmers
    50-100 kg/ha (NPK 16:16:8)
    Agro-chemicals applied

Source: Hien, Bien et al, 1996


Of the pests that afflict the cashew crop, shoot borer and red bug were recorded as the most
serious pests on the crop. (Hien, Bien, 1996), Table 4. Control measures applied for pests
and diseases were practiced only in 2.17% of orchards.

Table 4. Pests and Diseases Recorded in Cashew Orchards in Dongnai, 1996
            Diseases and Pests              Percentage of orchards showing       Damage
                                                      infestation                 level
Red Bug (Helopeltis antonii)                              60.5                    Serious
Shoot borer (Alcides sp.)                                 92.3                    Serious
Stem borer (Plocaederus ferrugineus, P.                   23.4                   Moderate
Leaf miner (Acroercops sp.)                               84.3                    Serious
Mealy bug (Coccidae), Ants                                65.8                   Moderate
Sooty mold (Mellol sp., Capnodium sp)                      7.2                    Limited
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum sp., Fusarium                 32.4                   Moderate


Although rejuvenation of old trees by topworking with selected high yielding clones has been
recommended, this has however, not been widely applied by farmers, despite the fact that
production and productivity of cashew can be certainly improved if the method is practiced
(Donafood, 1996).


Due to the fact that the majority of plantations were established with low yielding genetic
material and managed poorly, average yields of cashew are as low as 500-600 kg per ha per
year. The size of cashew kernels is also below accepted standards and market acceptance
is a problem for the producers.


Nearly 90 percent of cashew kernels produced in Vietnam are exported mainly to Canada,
China, USA, Japan and Australia. The export price ranged from US $ 5,300 to 5,500 per ton.
In 1996, about 24,000 tons were exported. This brought US $ 120 million to the country in
1996. The local market consumed only about 10 % of total production, mainly as snack food
and confectionery items such as cashew candy, popular among local consumers in Song Be

Marketing has not been well organized and most of the cashew kernel is exported by several
companies incorporated in the provinces. There are no Growers’ Cooperatives established
for the marketing of cashew as yet. Competition for the export of cashew exists strongly
among the private companies. National policy is towards the establishment of a single export
Agency to handle cashew exports. This strategy has yet to be ratified by the Central
government. The current practice therefore of exporting processed and unprocessed
cashew, is bound to continue for some time.


Cashew production projections for the year 2000 is planned to increase to 250,000 tons as
against 126,000 tons at present (Table 5). The export value of kernels by the year 2000 is
estimated to be around US $ 240 million as compared to US$115 million in 1996. The
anticipated average yield is expected to increase to reach 1 ton/ha by then, which the
country hopes to achieve through the application of advanced technologies such as use of
fertilizer, better cultural practices and high yielding clones raised vegetatively through the
adoption of grafting techniques.

Table 5. Current Area of Production and Future Projections

                 Criteria               1996 2000 2010
1. Production extents (in ‘000 ha)       250 400 600
2. Average yield (tons/ha)                0.7 1.0 1.2
3. Production (‘000 tons)                126 250 600
4. Planned exports (kernel)                24 50 120
Projected export value (millions in US$) 115 240 576
Processing labor force (‘000 persons)      60 150 250
Source: Vietnam Cashew Tree Association, 1997


The major constraints in the cashew industry are as follows:

Technical Issues

      Lack of improved varieties.
      Agro-ecological areas suitable for cashew are yet to be identified.
      Lack of sufficient high quality planting material.

Policy Aspects

The following policy issues need to be approved by government to support the cashew

      Amount of capital investment required for care and management of existing cashew
       plantations and for new plantings will be around 1,250 billion VN dong by the year
       2000 (Vietnam Cashew Tree Association, 1997). Another 500 billion VN dong will be
       required for new processing facilities for cashew.
      A Cashew Tree research center should be established to backstop production
      Growers’ Cooperatives should be organized for marketing of cashew products.
      Demonstrations and extension programs to assist farmers in topworking old trees
       should be initiated in order to attain higher yields.

The cashew crop has demonstrated its adaptability to local growing conditions in Vietnam
and has emerged as an important export crop which at present provides valuable foreign
exchange of nearly US$115 million per year (1996). This has amply demonstrated its place
in the agricultural production system of the country although many policy changes and
technical inputs are needed to assist further development of the crop. In order to realize the
projected targets of expanding the area under production to 400,000 ha with a yield of 1
ton/ha producing about 300,000 tons, more research and development efforts are urgently
needed. It is therefore hoped that the target of earning US $ 288 million by the year 2000 can
be achieved.


Bien, P.V and N.T Binh, 1997. Cashew tree technical aspects. Workshop on Cashew Tree
Development in Vietnam, Hanoi. (11 pages).

National Institute of Planning and Projects, 1997. Orientation for Cashew Tree Development
in Vietnam, Hanoi (20 pages).

Vietnam Cashew Tree Association, 1997. Present Situation of Cashew Production and
Programs for Cashew Development up to 2010. Workshop on Cashew Tree Development in
Vietnam, Hanoi (12 pages).

Donafood, 1996. Cultural Practices for Cashew Trees. Agric. Services Department of
Dongnai Province (18 pages).

[10] Director, Long Dinh Fruit Research Center, Long Dinh, Chau Thanh, Tiengiang,

The cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale) produces nuts, the kernels of which have
increased considerably in economic importance over the past few decades. Indigenous to
Brazil, the cashew was taken to West Africa, East Africa and India by the Portuguese in the
15th and 16th centuries. It was noticed that the tree grew well on poor sandy soils along the
coastal belt and was used by the Portuguese in Africa as an anti-soil erosion measure. The
tree prospered and spread naturally, particularly in East Africa and India and the progeny of
these wild cashew has formed the basis of the raw material for the cashew industry. Though
the plant was primarily intended for checking soil erosion, it is now mainly grown for its
commercially important kernel and shell oil (Aiyadurai, 1963).

After the war in 1945, world production and consumption of cashew nut increased sharply
and it soon became the world’s most important dessert nut after almonds. World
consumption of cashew nuts has been increasing steadily from 125,000 tons in 1955 to
1,000,000 tons in 1995, and is estimated to be around 1,260,000 tons by the year 2005
(Ohler, 1979). The production of cashew nut has also kept pace with demand in Europe and
Africa and the increase in production has been achieved mainly through extension of the
area under the crop. The production of cashew nut in India, however, is far short of the
capacity of the existing processing industries and consequently, the cashew industry in India
has been stagnant for the past two decades. To increase yields, improved planting material
and better crop management practices will have to be given some attention (Russel, 1979).

Other countries in South East Asia and the Pacific region including many islands in Indonesia
where the cashew nut as well as the cashew apple are appreciated. In Malaysia, where its
suitability for cultivation has been shown and the Philippines where its economic potential
has yet to be exploited are some of the new areas with future potential although labor
requirements seem to be prohibitive, especially in Australia where conditions also appear
suitable for its cultivation.

Trends in production of cashew are also related to consumption and these in turn will depend
on the world economic situation. With the increase in the standard of living in developing
countries, a large consumer market is developing, especially in cashew producing countries
(Ohler, 1979). There is also the need to explore the possibility of wider dietary utilization of
the oil obtained from the shell during processing of raw nuts, which is also a potential
exportable product.


Cashew is a highly nutritious and concentrated form of food, providing a substantial amount
of energy. The cashew nut kernel has a pleasant taste and flavor and can be eaten raw, fried
and sometimes salted or sweetened with sugar (Manay et al, 1987). It also contributes as an
important source of invisible fat in the diet, being widely used in a variety of ways. There has
been a growing demand for cashew in many temperate countries where the demand is
increasing (Russel, 1979). The nut contains an acrid compound which is a powerful
vessicant that is abrasive to the skin. The cashew shell contains 25% of this reddish brown
oil, industrially known as Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) which is a by-product of the
roasting process.

2.1 Overall Composition
The kernel is considered to be of high nutritive quality and growing conditions or the variety
of cashew may have an influence on kernel composition (Ohler, 1979). The overall
composition of the kernel is protein 21%, fat 46% and carbohydrates 25%.

2.2 Total Nutrient Content

The total nutritive value of 100 g of cashew nut is presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Nutritive Value in 100 g of Cashew Nut

Moisture                           5.9
Total Minerals                     2.4
Total Fiber                        1.3
Energy                            785
Protein                             24
Total Fat                           64
Saturated                        12.9
Unsaturated (Oleic)              36.8
Unsaturated (Linoleic)           10.2
Carbohydrate                        41
Ca                                  53
P                                52.2
Fe                                 5.3
Thiamin                          0.63
Riboflavin                       0.19
Niacin                             2.5
Beta-carotene                       60
Retinol Equivalent     33 IU; 10 mcg
Vitamin K                         650

2.3 Protein Content

Wide differences in the protein content ranging from 13.13 to 25.03% have been reported
from various regions of India. It has been suggested that protein content be considered as
one of the most important factors in future breeding and selection programs on cashew nut.
The amino acid composition of kernel protein has been reported by various experts (Table

Table 2. Amino-Acid Composition of Cashew Kernel Protein

 Amino Acid Composition (%)
Glutamic Acid          28.0
Leucine               11.93
Iso Leucine            3.86
Alanine                3.18
Phenylalanine          4.35
Tyrosine               3.20
Arginine              10.30
Glycine                5.33
Histidine              1.81
Lysine                 3.32
Methionine             1.30
Cystine                   1.02
Threonine                 2.78
Valine                    4.53
Tryptophane               1.37
Aspartic Acid            10.78
Proline                   3.72
Serine                    5.76

2.4 Carbohydrate Content

Analysis of cashew nut kernels from different regions of India have revealed that there are
variations in the reducing sugar content from 1% to 3% and the non-reducing sugars from
2.4% to 8.7%. Starch content ranged from 4.6% to 11.2% and the oil content also showed a
wide variability from 34.5% to 46.8%.

2.5 Fatty Acid Composition

The fat and oil content of cashew nut contributes substantially to its energy content and
consists mostly of glycerides of oleic acid (73.8%) and linoleic acids (7.7%) (Ohler, 1979).
Table 3 gives the composition of fats in cashew kernels.

Table 3. Fatty Acid Composition of Cashew Kernels (%)
Oleic Acid            73.3
Linoleic Acid         7.67
Palmitic Acid         0.89
Stearic Acid         11.24
Lignoseric Acid       0.15
Unsaponifiable Matter 0.42

It may be mentioned that the high proportion of oleic and stearic acid contents may limit its
use in the diets advocating low energy intake. The high content of MUFA oleic however,
might be beneficial in cases of bowel enteropathy. Also from the point of view of essential
fatty acid requirements, the ratio of linoleic to linolenic (values for cashew nut not available)
acid is considered important. Studies at the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) have shown
that cereals and pulses on average contribute 3% and 2% respectively, of invisible fat,
providing 1.5% LA and 0.08% ALNA and pulses furnish 1.3% LA and 0.28% ALNA to the
diet. On this basis, habitual rural Indian diets were found to provide 7 en % of invisible fat
(both from cereals and pulses) (Ghafoorunissa, 1989).

WHO/FAO (1977) had recommended an LA intake of over 3 en %, the requirement of LA
being around 8g/capita/day. In rural diets, the invisible fat present in cereals, pulses and milk
can meet about 66% of the daily LA requirements. To furnish the remaining 33%, different
amounts of vegetable oils would be required from various sources of nuts and oil seeds. In
the Indian context, figures available for two edible oils furnishing the recommended intake of
LA works out to be 11 g or 4 en % in the adult diet, wherein the fat intake of total calories
would be 11% or 30 g.

The judicious use of cashew in the diet in suitable proportions so as to enhance dietary
quality with respect to fat and protein should therefore be possible. Owing to its high protein
content, it could be used along with cereals/staples and pulses in small amounts in
association with vegetables to improve the dietary profile. The level of oil present in the
cashew to ensure energy density in the diet appears to be adequate, but whether it can meet
with the diets LA requirements needs to be studied further.

2.5 Vitamin Content

The vitamin content of cashew nut kernels shown in Table 4 indicates that 0.5 to 1.4 mg per
100 g of thiamin and 0.58 mg per 100 g of riboflavin, a good proportion of vitamin E and
traces of other vitamins are present in cashew.

Table 4. Vitamin Content (mg per 100 gm) of Cashew Kernels

Thiamin      0.56
Niacin       3.68
Riboflavin   0.58
Tocopherol 210
Pyridoxine traces
Axerophtol traces
Vitamin D traces

It may be mentioned that the vitamin E content of cashew nut could be a beneficial factor, in
view of the wider use in the diet of the elderly and those who run the risk of cardiovascular
disease. Vitamin E is also a powerful anti-oxidant and its role in lipid metabolism has been
well established. Fats containing a lesser amount of tocopherol in the unsaponifiable fraction
have been reported to be more atherogenic as compared to most crop species containing
higher concentration of tocopherols (Kurup, 1989).

Thus, the amounts of cashew to be incorporated and the economic feasibility in utilizing for
local diets need to be critically examined. Cardiovascular diseases which affect individuals
mostly around middle age is common among the more affluent. The use of small amounts of
cashew nut in the diet could therefore be a deterrent in controlling cardiovascular ailments.

2.6 Mineral Content

The mineral content of cashew kernel (Table 5) appear to be minimal as compared to the
higher mineral content of the cashew apple, especially the high Vitamin C content (240 mg).
Most citrus species such as orange have only 45 mg of Vitamin C. However, the cashew
apple is yet to be utilized on a large scale to alleviate Vitamin C nutrition requirements in the
tropical countries where the crop is grown.

Cashew is also one of the few sources of phenols (contains about 60 % of anacardic acid by
weight). This acid is responsible for the vesicative activity of the shell liquid extract and can
cause acute dermatitis. It is therefore essential to ensure that as little contamination as
possible of CNSL should occur during processing of kernels. In traditional medicine however,
this extract has been used successfully (Ohler, 1979).

The high price of cashew kernels will certainly stimulate the planting programs in various
countries. Since the cashew nut market competes with other nuts, there is bound to be
increased production of all nuts. The present cost of processing cashew is much higher as
compared to other nuts which allows little flexibility in cashew kernel prices. It is therefore
necessary to develop more efficient and cost-effective processing systems for cashew
(Russel, 1979).
Table 5. Mineral Content of Cashew Kernels (%)
Ca 0.04
P 0.88
Na 0.005
K 0.57
Mg 0.28
Fe 0.008
Cu 0.002
Zn 0.004
Mn 0.002

2.7 Groundnut

In contrast, groundnut (Arachis hypogea) which is also an important oil crop of Brazilian
origin, is now cultivated in tropical and warm temperate climates. The Portuguese were
initially responsible for introducing the crop to Goa, India and the rest of Asia and Africa. With
31 % of the world’s production, India ranks first in groundnut production today. Groundnuts
are not only rich in proteins which are easily digestible and consequently, a higher biological
value, but are also rich in B-complex vitamins. Like other edible nuts it is used in different
ways and it is an essential item in several confectionery products, and in supplementary
feeding programs such as in weaning food formulations in combination with cereals and
pulses in many developing countries. Various cultivars of groundnut tested in Andhra
Pradesh, Southern India have shown high contents of P and K, possibly due to varietal
differences (Pillai et al, 1984). There is a similar need to investigate the variability in mineral
content of cashew nut varieties in order to produce better varieties and optimize their use.

Whilst groundnut, when processed into margarine is gaining popularity as a substitute for
butter in the USA and elsewhere, specifically due to its alternate use in instances of lactose
intolerance, it is fast replacing dairy products due to the absence of cholesterol. The principal
use of groundnut however, is in the production of oil (Cummins, 1986).

2.8 Comparative Nutritive Value of Groundnut vs Cashew Nut

The comparative proximate composition of groundnut and cashew nut is given in Table 6.
The nutritive value of both nuts are apparently similar with the exception of iron, where
cashew nut has twice the level of groundnut as well as the chromium content which is higher
in cashew. The bio-availability of these minerals need to be studied as cashew also has a
high oxalate content. This aspect need to be investigated in view of its possible application in
meeting the iron requirements of vegetarian diets which are usually deficient in iron. The
presence of chromium can also help in formulating better diets for diabetics.

Table 6. Comparative Nutritive Value of Cashew Nut and Groundnut
                    Cashew Nut Groundnut
Energy Keal                596       567
Protein (g)               21.2      25.3
Fat (g)                   46.9      40.1
Minerals (mg)               2.4       2.4
Fiber (g)                   1.3       3.1
Carbohydrates (g)         22.3      26.1
Calcium (mg)                 50        90
P (mg)                     450       350
Fe (mg)                   5.81        2.5
Cr (mg)                  0.163     0.048
The fatty acid composition of groundnut is presented in Table 7. The oleic acid content of
groundnut is much lower than that of cashew nut, while linoleic acid is three times the level in
cashew nut. The WHO/FAO expert group has recommended that 30-35 percent of the
Calorie requirements should be met from fats and oils in the ratio of 1:1 of saturated to
unsaturated. It is also generally accepted that the total fat in human diets should not exceed
30en % or even lower in sedentary individuals (Fats and oil News, 1988, Grundy et al, 1987).
The dietary fat (both visible and invisible) which were so far considered as an important
nutrient component merely as a concentrated source of energy, has in recent years assumed
tremendous nutritional significance with close links to the quality of fat in relation to its
constituent fatty acids. In view of this, it may be of interest to nutritionists and food scientists
to evaluate the merits and de-merits of the usage of cashew nuts and groundnuts in the diet
in suitable proportions to improve the nutritional fat quality and optimize its dietary benefits
and applications.

Table 7. Total Fatty Acid Composition of Groundnut Oil

Saturated       20
Monounsaturated 54
Oleic           47
Polyunsaturated 26
Linoleic        28


Aiyadurai, S.G. (1963). A review of Research on Spices and Cashew nut in India. Agriculture
Commission, Government of India.

Cummins D.G. (1986). Groundnut. The Unpredictable Legume! Production Constraints and
Research Needs. Proc. International Symposium, ICRISAT Sahelian Center, Niamey, Niger.

FAO/WHO (1977). Dietary Fats and Oils in Human nutrition. FAO, Food and Nutrition Paper
3, FAO, Rome.

Fats and Oils News (1986). Journ. Amer. Chem. Soc, 63:718.

Gafoorunissa. (1989). Nutritional Aspects in Indian Diets. Proc. Nutr. Soc. India. 35: 43-51.

Gopalan, C. et al. Eds. (1991). Nutritive Value of Indian Foods. (Rev. Ed). NIN, ICMR,

Grundy, S.M, and Nestle, P.J (1987). Amer. Journ. Clin. Nitrit. 45: 1087.

Kurup, P.A, (1989). Nutritional Factors and Atherosclerosis. Proc. Nutr. Soc. India: 34: 27-36.

Manay, N., and M. Shadaksharaswamy (1987). Facts and Principles. Wiley Eastern Ltd, New

Ohler, J.G., (1979). Cashew. Department of Agricultural Research, Royal Tropical Institute,
Pillai, R. N., Ranganakulu, G., Padma Raju, A., Sankara Reddi, G.H (1984). Mineral
Composition of Kernels and Shells of Four Cultivars of Groundnut. Andhra Pradesh Journ.
(India). 31 (4): 351-352.

Russel (1979). Cashew nut Processing. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin. Third Ed. FAO,

[11] Senior Food Policy and Nutrition Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
Bangkok, Thailand.

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