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The Top 5 Cashew Nut producing countries

  Country Cashew Production 2011
(metric tonnes)
% of World Total % Change from 2010
1 Viet Nam 1,237,300 mt 28.9% - 0.3%
2 Nigera 835,000 mt 19.5% + 0.6%
3 India 674,600 mt 15.7% + 10.0%
4 Côte d'Ivoire 393,000 mt 9.1% + 3.4%
5 Brazil 230,785 mt 5.3% + 121.1%
Tags Farming & Agriculture Statistics , Crops , India , South America

Sources: FAOSTAT data, 2013 (last accessed by January 2014).

List Notes: Cashew production is in metric tonnes for the year 2011. Percent change in cashew production is from the year 2010. Please note: production weight includes shell.
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  1. Cashew is a major product for millions of majorly small-scale farmers. Worldwide the annual production is about 2.1 million tons of raw nuts (RCN) with an estimated value of US$ 1.5 -2 billion. The main cashew production regions are Africa, India, Vietnam and Brazil. Cashew nuts consist of 35-45% seeds and around 55-65% of shells. The shells contain 15-30% oil. A ton of nuts contains around 200 kg seeds and 180 kg oil (cashew nut oil or cashew nut shell liquid “CNSL“).CNSL is used as oil in industry.
  2. Cashew kernels are ranked as either the second or third most expensive nut traded in the United States. Macadamia nuts are priced higher and pecan nuts can be, if the harvest is poor. Cashew nuts have a well established market in the United States with a great variety of uses. Retail prices range from about US$4-11 per pound (US$9-23 per kg) depending on the size of nut and the packaging.
  3. Three main cashew products are traded on the international market - raw nuts, cashew kernels and cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL). A fourth product - the cashew apple is generally processed and consumed locally.
  4. The cashew tree, native to Brazil, was introduced to Mozambique and then India in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese, as a means of controlling coastal erosion. It was spread within these countries with the aid of elephants that ate the bright cashew fruit along with the attached nut. The nut was too hard to digest and was later expelled with the droppings. It was not until the nineteenth century that plantations were developed and the tree then spread to a number of other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  5. The cashew is a close relative of mangos, pistachios, poison ivy and poison oak. Most cashew trees start bearing fruit in the third or fourth year, and are likely to reach their mature yield by the seventh year if conditions are favourable. The average yield of nuts of a mature tree is in the range of 7-11 kg per annum. Although the cashew tree is capable of living for 50-60 years, most trees produce nuts for about 15-20 years. The harvesting and processing of cashew is very labour intensive.
Top 5 facts sources: Top 5 facts sources:
  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2010). Retrieved Jan 21st, 2012.