Small-scale cashew nut processing


Dr S. H. Azam-Ali
Agro-processing Specialist
Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development
Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

E. C. Judge
Agro-processing Researcher
Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development
Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

Contributions from

J. Gunasekara
Agro-processing Programme Manager
ITDG South Asia
5 Lionel Edirisinghe Mawatha, Kirulapone, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka


The authors are grateful to M Whitton for providing the illustrations.

We would also like to thank the small-scale cashew processors in Sri Lanka and the participants of the International Cashew Workshop "Cashing in on Cashew" held in Sri Lanka (November 2000) for sharing vital information on cashew processing.


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

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© FAO 2004

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction

        1.1 The importance of cashew

        1.2 Cashew products
             1.2.1 Cashew kernels
             1.2.2 Cashew nut shell liquid

        1.3 Processing

        1.4 Opportunities for small-scale processors

        1.5 The way ahead

Chapter 2 - Cashew production

        2.1 Botanical characteristics
             2.1.1 Varieties

        2.2 Agricultural practices - propagation and culture
             2.2.3 Sowing
             2.2.4 Seasonal planting
             2.2.5 Raising seedlings in a nursery
             2.2.6 Layering
             2.2.7 Approach-grafting or inarching

        2.3 Land preparation

        2.4 Spacing

        2.5 Fertilizer use in cashew
             2.5.1 Basal dressing at planting
             2.5.2 Rate of application of fertilizer
             2.5.3 Method of fertilizer application
             2.5.4 Frequency and timing of application

        2.6 Diseases

        2.7 Pests

        2.8 Harvesting
             2.8.1 Drying of the raw material

        2.9 Storage

        2.10 Infestation of harvested nuts

        2.11 Post harvest handling

Chapter 3 - Uses of cashew

        3.1 Uses of cashew nut

        3.2 Uses of cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL)

        3.3 Uses of cashew apple
             3.3.1 Using cashew apples in recipes

        3.4 Dried cashew fruits

Chapter 4 - Trends in Cashew nut production and trade

        4.1 Global cashew production

        4.2 Cashew production in Africa
             4.2.1 Production in Mozambique
             4.2.2 Production in Tanzania
             4.2.3 Production in Nigeria
             4.2.4 Production in other African countries

        4.3 Cashew production in Asia
             4.3.1 Production in India
             4.3.2 Production in Indonesia
             4.3.3 Production in Vietnam
             4.3.4 Production in Sri Lanka
             4.3.5 Production in Australia

        4.4 Production in South and Central America
             4.4.1 Production in Brazil

        4.5 Global Trade Trends
             4.5.1 International Classification

Chapter 5 - Traditional methods of cashew processing

        5.1 Cashew processing in Africa
             5.1.1 Cashew processing in Guinea-Bissau

        5.2 Cashew processing in Asia
             5.2.1 Traditional processing in India
             5.2.2 Traditional processing in Sri Lanka

        5.3 Traditional manual shelling
             5.3.1 Quality control in shelling

        5.4 Manual peeling

Chapter 6 - Cashew processing operations

        6.1 General processing

        6.2 Cleaning, sizing and conditioning
             6.2.1 Soaking or conditioning
             6.2.2 Large-scale cleaning and conditioning

        6.3 Roasting and centrifuging
             6.3.1 Drum roasting
             6.3.2 The hot oil method

        6.4 Shelling
             6.4.1 Mechanical shelling

        6.5 Separation
             6.5.1 Pre-grading

        6.6 Drying

        6.7 Peeling

        6.8 Grading

        6.9 Rehumidification

        6.10 Packing

        6.11 Infestation

        6.12 Hygiene and safety
             6.12.1 Food hygiene and the law
             6.12.2 Food poisoning and its causes
             6.12.3 Personal hygiene
             6.12.4 Cleanliness of equipment and the working area
             6.12.5 Other sources of contamination
             6.12.6 Packaging and preservation

Chapter 7 - Bibliography

Chapter 8 - Selected references and contacts

        Published sources
        Internet sites
        Equipment manufacturers and suppliers
        Organisations involved in cashew processing

Appendix 1 - Trends in Global PRoduction (1961-2000)

Appendix 2 - Products containing cashew apple and cashew nut


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