FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON CASHEW NUT VALUE CHAIN
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON CASHEW NUT VALUE CHAIN
- What is Cashew nuts?
- Cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale.L) is a tropical evergreen perennial and drought tolerant tree crop.
- It thrives best in dry areas with annual average temperatures above 28°C
- It strives well in deep friable sandy loam or loam soils with average PH levels of 6.5 and 7.5.
- The crop prefers a temperature range of 24 to 40 degrees Celsius and annual rainfall of 800-1,600mm.
- Cashew trees can resist drought conditions up to 7 months.
- The tree has an estimated economic life span of 45 years but can live up to 100 years.
- and having well drained deep sandy loam soils with high textural porosity. This makes it a very suitable commodity for dry cattle corridor areas of Uganda.
2.0 Why Cashew nuts?
- Cashew is a multipurpose tree crop, with almost all parts (roots, stem, bark, leaves, apples, shell, skin, and nuts) used.
- The nut (seed) is considered the most valuable product. The raw cashew apple has high soluble sugar (fructose and sucrose) content, and can be consumed as fresh fruits; or used to make various products such as juice, jam, vinegar and wine.
- The nut shells yield oil which is used as medicine, preservative and water proofing agent.
- The oil is also used in the manufacture of insulating varnishes and acid proof cements, tiles and inks. The shell cake, when burnt, can be used as an energy source in small-scale industries.
3.0 Site selection, land preparation and planting
- Ensure that the area selected is characterized by; Sandy, loose loam and red soils.
- Avoid planting Cashew in areas with hard pan or rocky, water logged or swampy.
- Mark the field by pegging in lines and provide a space for wind breakers.
- Winders breakers should be about 12 meters away from Cashew trees.
- Mark the planting holes as desired and dig the holes at a spacing of 8 meters by 8 meters, 10 meters by 10 meters and 12 meters by 12 meters
- The plant population vary at different spacing i.e 63 trees/acre at 8mx8m, 40 trees/acre when spaced at 10m x10m, and 27 trees when spaced at 12mx12m.
- Dig the planting holes measuring 60cm by 60cm by 60cm (or 2ft by 2ft by 2ft).
- Plant in lines at the onset of rains when there is good saturation of soil moisture.
- Before planting, refill the planting hole with good manure and soil mix at a rate of 2 parts of soil and 1 part of manure or fertilizer mix at a rate of 15g per hole in case of need.
- Remove the polythene bags carefully without detaching the soil from seedling.
- Plant the seedling directly in the center of the hole where the peg was placed.
- This will allow faster development of roots and healthy growth
Does cashew nut require fertilizers?
- Fertilizer or Manure is required after establishment to boost the plant growth and yields.
- This can be foliar, granular or compost manure applied to plant or soils around the canopy.
- Animal manure and compost are the most desired for Cashew production.
- However, if manure is not available inorganic fertilizers can be applied such as DAP (Diammonium Phosphate, CAN (Calcium ammonium nitrate) and Potassium Sulphate.
- Always conduct soil testing before applying fertilizer.
Is irrigation required in cashew nut production?
- Irrigation is an important factor in Cashew production.
- Cashew trees are drought tolerant and can with stand high temperatures.
- Due to its deep root system, the tree can survive for about 7 months without irrigation.
- However, irrigation can improve year around production and productivity.
- Mature trees require up to 1800L of water per tree every 2 weeks.
- Simple “Bottle Irrigation” techniques can be used to supplement the plant water requirement.
Soil and water management
- Cashew trees are able to trap and utilize water from poor soils which are sandy or loose loamy and red soils. Hence controlling erosion in such areas.
- Open up the soils in the plantation at least once a year to allow water infiltration.
- Mulch the trees at times of water stress to conserve soil moisture.
- De-suckering should be done continuously in year one until the tree is 1 m high usually for grafted plants.
- Pruning starts after the 1st year of establishment and its required to improve the crop hygiene, sanitation and productivity.
- Remove all branches below 1 meter and train the horizontal/downward curving branches using pegs to enable upward growth.
- Remove undesirable horizontal branches to avoid future damages to the crop due to wind.
- Remove all dry/dead branches, interlocked branches to improve light penetration and attaining desired canopy shape.
Pest and disease control
- The most notable insect pests for Cashew are the Cashew bugs (Helopelitis anacardii) that suck sap from the leaves and from the young cashew fruits.
- Other insect pests include Stem borers, Thrips, Meally bugs, Weevils, Caterpillars and leaf miners.
- Diseases include Anthracnose, powdery mildew and dieback are the most dangerous in cashew fields.
- Always use recommended chemicals for pests and disease control when required.
Harvesting and Post-harvest handling
- Cashews are usually ready for harvest at one half (1 ½) to two (2) years after transplanting of seedlings or six to nine months for grafted seedlings.
- Cashew nuts are harvested when they are mature and fall down.
- For good quality Nuts, clear the area beneath the tree, collect fallen fruits, detach the nut from the apple and dry the nuts under the shade. This improves the quality of the kernel.
- Do not leave the remains of the apple on the nuts when detaching the nuts from the apple.
- Avoid beating or stoning during harvest as this will destroy the nuts, apples, immature fruits and flowers.
- Avoid shaking the tree during harvest as this will damage the plant, fruits and flowers.
- Harvesting Nuts should be done daily if it is wet season and within three days during dry season. This prevent germination and deterioration due to fungal infection.
- Dry the nuts on Tauplins or Concrete platform after harvest to avoid contamination by fungal diseases such as Aflatoxins.
- Preferably the nuts should be dried under shade not under direct sunlight for about 7 days.
- During drying, clean the remains of apples from the nuts and any residues that might attract low quality.
- Bag the nuts in Jute or Sisal bags only. This allows aeration and avoids scorching of nuts.
No polythene should be used for bagging the nuts as they encourage scorching of nuts
11.0 Benefits of Cashew nuts production
Cashew nut offers a number of nutritional, Industrial, economic and environmental importance;
- Cashew nut is a viable enterprise for household income generation and wealth creation.
- A farmer can earn a net profit of Ushs. 26 Million at 5th year and Ushs. 96 Million at 6th year from sales of Raw Nuts and Apples in one acre of Cashew investment (See annex 1&2 attached). However, additional profits can be obtained when value addition is done.
- Nutritionally, Raw nuts and apples provide a valuable source of proteins and cholesterol free carbohydrates, Micro nutrients and vitamins e.g Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and Vitamin C content is superior than most of the fruits.
- Industrial/other economic benefits;
- Cashew shells: For Shell oil used in many ways including lubricant in high heat producing engines, brake lining, as vanishes.
- ii) Cosmetics and medicinal products due to its anti-fungal properties,
- Water-proof papers, typewriter rolls, industrial flooring tiles, making paints, inks, polishers, production of plastics, anti-termite agent, when compacted is used for making ceiling boards, top boards, brake pads and briquettes.
- Apples; used for making juice, dry chips, vinegar, wine, jams, sauce as appetizer and livestock feeds, residues provide a good source of organic fertilizer.
- Kernels: Used for making cashew nut milk, Chocolate, Cashew nut butter, cakes, biscuits, Ice cream and Cheese.
- Cashew nut leaves are medicinal for treating stomach pain and cough
- Cashew bark; is used for gums and inks.