Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 753–772 | Cite as

Cashew, from seed to market: a review

  • Bianca Dendena
  • Stefano Corsi
Review Article


Cashew is a tropical tree native to South America. Cashew was introduced in Asia and Africa by European explorers in the sixteenth century. The world production of cashew raw nuts reached 4.27 million tons in 2011. Vietnam is the top producer of raw nuts, and India is the first processor and exporter of processed nuts. The cashew market is expected to remain strong due to the high growth of production in some areas such as West Africa. For instance, a 40 % production increase has been observed in Nigeria over the last 5 years. There is also an increasing exploitation of high-value by-products, particularly those made of cashew nut shell liquid. Cashew production is potentially a major value for smallholder farmers from emerging countries. Despite the relevance of cashew production on the international markets and the potential for boosting rural development and reducing poverty, a complete review on cashew is missing. Therefore, we review here the cashew production chain. Our main conclusions are as follows: (1) several management practices, processing methods, and uses of products and by-products are published; (2) however, there is still a lack of knowledge due to a scattered research framework lacking integrated research programs; (3) smallholder farmers face major constraints limiting the development of cashew sector locally, ranging from difficult access to good planting material and training to lack of investment for innovating processing facilities; (4) among them, women, that account for up to 95 % of the workforce in the sector, receive lower wages and are subject to worse working conditions.


Anacardium occidentale L. Value chain Cashew nut Cashew processing Smallholder farmers Development 


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© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Economia, Management e Metodi Quantitativi (DEMM)Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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