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Cashew farming business proposal (make money)

Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) is an evergreen tropical and frost sensitive tree crop that forms large canopy and can grow to 12 metres high. The tree is mostly valued for the nuts which are mainly harvested once in a year.

Cashew nut, a native of Brazil, was introduced in Nigeria by Portuguese during the later half of the 16th century for the purpose of afforestation and soil conservation. From its humble beginning as a crop intended to check soil erosion, cashew has emerged as a major foreign exchange earner next only to tea and coffee. Cashew nut is one of the important nuts grown in the world and ranked first. Among various nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds; cashew nut enjoys an unenviable position and it is an unavoidable snack in all important social functions especially in the western countries.
Commercial cultivation of cashew is taken up in major cashew growing states of Nigeria by order of importance. The states are Enugu, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Cross River in the Eastern part of the country; Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun in the Western part, as well as Kwara, Kogi, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, Niger and FCT in the Middle Belt and Sokoto and Kebbi in the North Western part of the country. The majority of export quality nuts come from the Western and Eastern parts of the country.

Production in Nigeria
During the past decade, the production of cashew nuts in Nigeria has increased almost six-fold from 30 000tonnes in 1990 to 176 000 tonnes in 2000. Prior to this, production was relatively static at 25 000 tonnes over a 25 year period from 1965. As in the case of other developing countries, Nigeria has recognized the potential economic value of cashew and has made a concerted effort to improve production of the crop.

Nigeria is rated to be the fourth largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa and seventh in the world, with the bulk of its Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) and cashew kernels exported to Vietnam and India, respectively. They are both leading processors of cashew nuts in the world. It was noted that “in 2011, Vietnam imported over $140million worth of RCN and $46million worth of cashew kernel from Nigeria”, as Nigeria’s cashew production has developed a cashew sector strategy for the cashew value chain in Nigeria.

It is estimated that nearly two million people are involved, directly and indirectly in cashew cultivation, processing and marketing.

Suitable Soil For Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, the general notion is that “cashew is very modest in its soil requirements and can adapt itself to varying soil conditions without impairing productivity”. While Cashew can be grown in poor soils, its performance would be much better on good soils. The best soils for cashew are deep and well-drained sandy loams without a hard pan. Cashew also thrives on pure sandy soils, although mineral deficiencies are more likely to occur.

Water stagnation and flooding are not congenial for cashew. Heavy clay soils with poor drainage and soils with pH more than 8.0 are not suitable for cashew cultivation. Excessive alkaline and saline soils also do not support its growth. Red sandy loam, lateritic soils and coastal sands with slightly acidic pH are best for cashew.

Climatic Requirements
Cashew is a tropical plant and can thrive even at high temperatures. Young plants are sensitive to frost. The distribution of cashew is restricted to altitudes up to 700 m above mean sea level where the temperature does not fall below 20°C for prolonged period. Areas where the temperatures range from 20 to 30°C with an annual precipitation of 1000 – 2000 mm are ideal for cashew growing.

However, temperatures above 36°C between the flowering and fruiting period could adversely affect the fruit setting and retention. Heavy rainfall, evenly distributed throughout the year is not favourable though the trees may grow and sometimes set fruit. Cashew needs a climate with a well-defined dry season of at least four months to produce the best yields. Coincidence of excessive rainfall and high relative humidity with flowering may result in flower/fruit drop and heavy incidence of fungal diseases.

Cashew Varieties
There are three main varieties which are Brazilian cashew, Chinese cashew and Indian cashew. Brazilian cashew is mostly grown in Nigeria.

Cashew Land Preparation
After clearing of the vegetation, the land must be thoroughly ploughed, harrowed and leveled in case of agricultural lands. In case of forestlands, the jungle should be cleared well in advance and the debris burnt. After clearing the jungles, land is to be terraced or bunds constructed on sloppy land. In order to ensure better moisture conservation, soil trenches are dug across the contours.

The cost of land preparation will vary depending upon the type and method of soil working. Nowadays, use of JCB for soil working is most popular; hence a provision for use of soil working is made in the model. The land preparation work should be completed prior to the onset of monsoon season – during May – June.

Fresh seeds that sink in water are planted in an upright position in a planting bag containing a loose, sterilized soil mixture. Three to four seeds can be planted directly in the planting hole or raised in nursery and transplanted in the field. After the establishment the plant are thinned to one healthy and vigorous plant per stand.

The weakest ones are thinned out later and the strongest left to develop further. The seedlings are very susceptible to Phytophthora root rot. The plant bags should be 350 to 400 mm deep, as the tap-root grows very fast and bends around as soon as it touches the bottom.

Plant Spacing
Planting space of 8 m x 5 m is recommended, while these two spacing methods can be adopted – 9m X 9m and 4.5m X 4.5m. The trees grow vigorously in the first 3years and as soon as the crowns touch each other alternate trees should be removed until the permanent planting distance of 10 to 12 m is reached. Branches hanging on the ground should be removed because they interfere with harvesting. In other parts of the world cashew trees bear well, in spite of the little attention devoted to the orchards.

Digging And Filling
The work of digging of pits has to be completed much in advance (May – June). Cashew can be planted in pits of 60cm x 60cm x 60cm size in soils with normal strata. In hard lateritic soils, pits of 1m x 1m x 1m size are recommended. The top soil and sub-soil are kept separately and allowed to wither under sun. It helps in migration of termites and ants. Burning of the debris and forest wastes inside the pits before planting is advantageous. The pits are then filled with topsoil mixed with farmyard manure or compost (5 kilograms) or poultry manure (2 kilograms) and rock phosphate (200 grams). In order to mitigate soil borne diseases, BHC @ 100 grams / pit is also added to the soil mixture.

Grafting In Cashew Farming
Two grafting techniques, namely side grafting and wedge grafting are practiced with success. Grafting should commence as soon as possible (seedlings of 3-4 months old) and planted out in the orchard to prevent the tap-root from bending.

Cashew seedlings are grown under shade (45%) and hardened off before planting in the orchard. It is very important not to disturb the root system during planting. Young trees should be supported for the first 2 to 3 years, so that wind will not blow the plants over.

Mulching In Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming Process, the cashew is generally planted on the wastelands and hence availability of soil moisture is always low, hence, mulching is essential. Mulching with black polythene is beneficial to increase the growth and yield of cashew. However, locally available materials like green or dry grass or weeds can be utilized for mulching the basins. Small pebbles or stones can also be used for mulching of the basin. The plastic or stone does not improve soil health but ensures better moisture retention in the soil and also prevents attack of soil borne insects and pests.

Irrigation/Water Supply In Cashew Farming
Cashew Farming irrigation is an important factor during establishment of young trees because it doubles the growth tempo of young trees in a dry season. Due to the deep root system the trees can survive several months without irrigation. Mature trees should receive 1,800 liters of water per tree every 2 weeks.

Manure And Fertilization In Cashew Farming
In order to get better yield, it is essential to maintain adequate N:P:K ratio in the soil. Application of 10-15 kg of farmyard manure per plant is recommended to ensure adequate organic matter in the soil. The fertilizers recommended for a mature cashew tree are 500g N (1.1 kg urea), 125g P2O5 (750g Single Super Phosphate and 125g K2O (200g muriate of potash).

The ideal time for application of fertilizer is immediately after the cessation of heavy rains. Fertilizers should be applied in a circular trench along the drip line. Before application of fertilizer it should be ensured that there is adequate soil moisture.

In Cashew Farming, the fertilizers should be applied in two split doses during pre-monsoon (May – June) and post monsoon (September – October) season. However, in the case of single application, it should be done during post monsoon season (September – October), when adequate soil moisture is available.

In sandy and laterite soils, soils of sloppy land and in heavy rainfall zones, the fertilizer application should be done in a circular trench of 25 cm width and 15 cm depth at 1.5m from the tree trunk. In red loamy soils and in low rainfall areas (east coast), the fertilizers should be applied in circular bands at a distance of 0.5m, 0.7m, 1.0m and 1.5m away from the trunk during first, second, third and fourth year onwards of planting, respectively.

Weed Control In Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, weeding with a light digging should preferably be done before the end of rainy reason. Hoeing, cutting the weeds off underground is more effective than slashing.

Meanwhile, manual and chemical weeding can be practiced. Manual weeding can be done at the seedling stage, but after full establishment, herbicides can be used in the plantation. Contact herbicide is recommended, but the spray must not touch the leaves. Chemical weeding has not been of any importance until now, however it may be considered as an alternative, where wages are high or where there is shortage of labour.

Initially, Agrodar-96 (2, 4 –D) @4ml/litre of water and subsequently Gramaxone @5ml/litre of water is sprayed. Approximately, 400 litre/ha (160 litre/acre) of solution is required per spray. The spray is again repeated in the post monsoon season.

Inter-cropping in Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, tall growing inter crops like certain varieties of sorghum and millet should not be encouraged between young cashew, as they provide too much shade. Leguminous crops such as groundnut and beans are very suitable for inter cropping. Besides the annual crops, arid zone fruit crops having less canopy can be thought of, depending on the suitability. Cultivation of horse gram, cowpea, groundnut, among others is recommended as inter-crops in cashew.

In a nut shell, cashew can be intercropped with arable crops such as soybean, cowpea, groundnut, melons and vegetables for some years. It is not advisable to intercrop cashew with corns because the crops can grow taller than the seedlings and cast shadows on them. The crops can also cause significant removal of soil nutrients. Inter cropping cashew, Casuarina and coconut are popular.

Cover Cropping In Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, leguminous cover enriches soil with the plant nutrients and adds organic matter; prevent soil erosion and conserves moisture. The seeds of these cover crops may be sown in the beginning of rainy season. The seed beds of 30cm X 30cm size are prepared in the inter space in slopes by loosening soil and mixing a little quantity of compost. The seeds of these crops are sown in the beds and covered with a thin layer of soil. The seeds should be soaked in the water for six hours before sowing.

Training And Pruning In Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, during first year of planting, the sprouts coming from the rootstock should be removed frequently to ensure better health of the plant. These sprouts eat up valuable plant nutrition and also cause death of grafted scion allowing only rootstock to grow. Initial, training and pruning of cashew plants during first 3-4 years is essential for providing proper shape to the trees. The trees are shaped by removing lower branches and water shoots coming from the base during first 3-4 years. Thereafter, little or no pruning is necessary.

The plant should be allowed to grow by maintaining a single stem up to 0.75-1.0 m from the ground level. Weak and criss-cross branches are also chopped off. In order to avoid lodging of the plant by wind, proper staking of plant is essential. After 4-5 years, the main stem is de-topped to a height of 4-5 m from the ground level.

Thereafter, regular removal of dried/ dead wood, criss-cross branches and water shoots once in 2-3 year is done to keep the plant healthy. The training and pruning of cashew plants is done during August – September. The cut surfaces are smeared with Bordeaux paste. The flowers appearing during first and second year of planting should be removed (de-blossoming) and plants should be allowed to bear fruits only after third year.

Pests And Diseases In Cashew Farming
In Cashew Farming, it is observed that there are about 30 species of insects infesting in cashew farming. Out of these tea mosquito, flower thrips, stem and root borer and fruit and nut borer are the major pests, which are reported to cause around 30% loss in yield of cashew nut. Basically, cashew crop does not have any serious disease problem except the powdery mildew caused by a fungus, which affects the young twigs and inflorescence and makes it wither. This disease generally appears when the weather becomes cloudy. Control can be obtained by dusting with 2% sulphur W.P.

Flowering To Harvesting Of Cashew
In Cashew Farming, flowering is affected by weather conditions and also varies from tree to tree, but continues for a period of 3 months. High temperatures lead to earlier flowering. Both male and bisexual flowers are borne on one cluster. The flowers are very susceptible to mildew and control thereof on the leaves and flowers is a prerequisite for good production.

Pollination is mostly by insects. After pollination it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the fruit to develop. It takes two months from flowering to ripening of the fruit, and flowering can continue for three months.

The nut develops first while the apple develops and enlarges only 2 weeks before fruit fall. Nuts should be harvested as soon as possible, especially under wet conditions and should be dried before storage.

Harvesting, Yield and Marketing of Cashew
In Cashew Farming, the improved varieties start to produce fruits eighteen months after planting. The yield can’t be much during the first few years, but after 5 years there will be increase in the yieldsIn another development, cashew plants start bearing after three years of planting and reach full bearing during tenth year and continue giving remunerative yields for another 20 years.

Expected yields can be determined as follows:
At 18 months after planting, 1kg per tree is expected and with the spacing of 4.5m X 4.5m, 132 plant stands will produce average of 132kg per acre. Between three and five years, it will produce average of 15kg per tree and 1980 kg per acre, while between five and nine years, it will produce average of 35kg per tree and 4620kg per acre. Above ten years, a tree will produce average of 80 kg per plant. The plant population should be reduced to 9m X 9m at the end of 5 year to allow the trees to form big crowns.

Normally, harvesting Cashew nut setting, which consists of picking of nuts that have dropped to the ground after maturing, begins in the middle of dry season, while harvesting takes place mainly in February or May. The entire harvest period occupies about 16 weeks.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern and Western parts of the country, where quality cashew nuts are grown, nuts are allowed to drop to the ground before they are collected. This practice ensures that only ripe nuts are collected. Nuts normally fall to the ground with their apples attached; the two are normally separated with a twisting action during collection. The remnants of the apple flash adhering to the nuts are removed with a sharp knife.

However, if the apples are also used for making jam, juice, syrup, Fenni, etc., the fruit has to be harvested before it falls naturally. The cashew apples are removed and the nuts are dried in sun for 2-3 days to bring the moisture level from 25 per cent to 9 per cent. The maturity of the cashew nut is tested by floatation method.

The apple must be harvested and processed immediately because it is highly perishable and gets spoilt within few hours. It can be eaten fresh or processed into juice. The nuts must be well dried in the sun before they are bagged and stored. Well dried nuts can be stored more than a year before they are shelled or sold.

The apple is very rich in nutrients, 3 times greater than orange in vitamin C. Syrup, wine and gin can also be produced from the apple. The nut kernel contains 21% vegetable protein and is as rich as milk, egg and meat in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Shell oil or fluid is a by product that contains combination of anacardic acid and cardol. It is used in the manufacturing of materials that are resistant to heat, friction and caustic products. It is used in clutch plates, special isolators, varnish and plastic materials.
The bark of cashew tree is rich in tannin being used in leather tannin. Other parts such as leaves, fruits, wood, gum, bark and juice are used for preparation of local medicines.

Ready To Harvest Cashews
The mature nuts sink in water while the immature/unfilled ones float. The nuts are collected at weekly intervals from the farm during the harvesting season. During that period the land should be clean in order to facilitate collection of cashew. Plantations of unknown origin or seedling progenies with conventional methods of cultivation yield less than one kg of raw nuts per tree.

However, there is a chance to increase the yield up to 4 to 5 kg per tree with the adoption of improved production techniques, over a period of 4 to 5 years. In new plantations, with the use of elite planting material coupled with a package of improved agronomic practices, a yield of 8-10 kg per tree could be achieved.

Post Harvest Handling
The nut is encased in a rock hard shell that is virtually impossible to penetrate after harvest. In order to extract the nut, the whole shell is soaked in water, softened by steaming and carefully air-dried to the final moisture content (9 percent). Each nut is hand massaged and cracked via a manual process that entails putting the nut against one sharp blade and bringing another blade, which is on a foot powered lever, through the outer shell. The blade on the foot lever is raised by an enthusiastic stomp allowing the outer shell to separate from the nut. The nut inside is carefully picked out of the outer shell using a nut pick.

Processing Of Cashew
This involves the following steps: (1) Preliminary cleaning. (2) Roasting. (3) Shelling. (4) Separation. (5)Drying. (6)Peeling.

After picking, the nuts are dried in the sun for 2 to 3 days, to reduce their moisture content to about 12 %. Properly dried nuts are packed in jute bags and can be kept for 6 to 10 months, if stored in suitable condition.
Technical requirements for storage are dependent on weather conditions. As cashew nuts are usually produced in climates with a long dry season, simple buildings with concrete floors and walls and roofs of corrugated metal, should provide adequate storage. Certain prerequisites must be satisfied to ensure safe storage:

  1. A waterproof and dry floor.
  2. A firm and secure roof.
  3. Openings in the wall must be protected in order prevent water from entering the room.
  4. Headroom must be adequate to allow the bags in a stack to be moved around if large quantities are to be stored.
  5. The store should be easily inspected: there must be sufficient clearance between the wall and the bags, to allow individuals to walk around and check the condition of the stack.
  6. The stack must be placed on a raised wooden platform, in order to prevent moisture from being drawn from the floor to the nuts.

Cashew nuts are dried in the sun for two reasons:

  • To reduce the moisture content of the nut,
  • To mature the seed in the infrared and ultra-violet rays of the sun.

Cashew nuts should keep for 12 months or more, provided that they are dried to moisture content of eight percent or below, packed in sealed polythene bags and stored under dry conditions. The moisture content of cashew nuts at harvest is dependent on climatic conditions, moisture content of the soil, on which the nuts have fallen, weed growth density under the tree and the time between nut fall and harvest. High moisture content may cause deterioration of the kernel due to mould or bacterial attack or enzyme action. Drying the nuts immediately after harvesting is essential in preserving their quality, but this process is often neglected.

Sun drying of cashew nuts can be done on specially prepared drying floors or mats made of bamboo or palm leaves. The drying areas should be smooth and slightly sloping, so as to allow rainwater to run off. The cashew-nut layer on the drying floor should not be thicker than 10 cm, thus allowing for about 60 kg of nuts per square metre. The nuts should be constantly raked in order to ensure that they all receive the same benefit of the sun’s rays and therefore they are dried evenly.

The nuts should be heaped together and covered in the evenings. If the nuts are heaped while still warm, they will continue to dry under the cover of a tarpaulin. The nuts should be checked the following morning to ascertain the need for further drying.
Dried nuts should make a rattling sound when falling. Drying may take between one and three days depending upon local climatic conditions. As soon as the nuts are dry, they should be stored and protected from rain.

Infestation Of Harvested Nuts
Raw cashew nuts, stored in sacks, sometimes in the open awaiting shipment and frequently without protection from rain, are subject to infestation through the stem-end. This may go undetected until damage has progressed to the point of heavy loss. Infestation also occurs in the shelled kernels at various stages of handling.

Grading And Packaging
Kernels, whole and broken, are sorted into 6 grading schedules. There is only a small demand for broken or dark and unevenly roasted kernels. Kernels are dried to 3% moisture content before they are packed .Drying is necessary to extend shelf life and prevent fungal and other infections. Dried kernels do not become rancid. Nut kernels of export quality are vacuum packed in tins.

Measuring Quality Of Cashew Nut
The quality of cashew nut is measured by Kernel Outturn Ratio (KOR) which is the amount of usable kernels after shelling of the nuts. It is measured as the weight of the kernels in Ibs per bag of cashew nuts (80kg or 176 Ibs). A KOR of 48 means there are 48 Ibs (21.8 kg) of usable cashew nut kernels in a bag of 176 Ibs (80kg). KOR ranges between 20 – 24%.
Cashew nut is an export commodity and highly demanded for in the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada and some European and Middle East countries.

Uses Of Cashew Nut
The cashew nut kernel is constituted of three different portions namely the shell, the kernel and the adheringtesta. The primary product of cashew nuts is the kernel, which is the edible portion of the nut and is consumed in three ways:

  • Used directly by the consumer.
  • Used as roasted and salted nuts.
  • Used in confectionery and bakery products, for example, finely chopped kernels are used in the production of sweets, ice creams, cakes and chocolates, both at home and industrially and as paste to spread on bread.

The relative importance of these uses varies from year to year and country to country, but it is estimated that at least 60 percent of cashew kernels are consumed as salted nuts. Separately packed cashew nuts are a good selling line, mainly as an appetizer to cocktail drinks. Salted cashews are part of the snack food market. They compete mainly with other nuts, although chips, salted popcorn and other savoury snacks can impinge on the nut market. The price of cashew nuts is much higher than the price of peanuts or other snacks so those sales must be based on a strong taste preference by the consumer. Cashew nuts are generally considered a luxury product and an element of their appeal may lie in this status.

Marketing Of Cashew
Indians and Indonesian importers are the major buyers of the nut in Nigeria. They mostly buy from places where quality cashew nuts are produced in abundant quantities. Reports and observations from cashew nut production and marketing have shown that the bulk of quality cashew nuts come from Ogbomoso, Oyo State. The town has suitable soil and weather for cashew nut production.

In Nigeria, millions of naira can be made in the exportation of cashew to several European and Asian countries – as SunyProfit majorly export to Vietnam.

Generally, 2.13 bags make a ton and 30 tons make a truck or long trailer. One just needs to know how  cashew nuts  is  graded or scaled, the standard and  quality  required  by  foreign buyers and  how  it should be  packaged; before tapping into the cashew trading and export business, as investors.

Exporters can also make money from cashew apples, which could be processed into fruit juice, which is being wasted annually because the focus was on the nuts alone – we are talking about 90 per cent of our cashew apples being wasted annually.

The cashew shell liquid that is used for a lot of industrial applications is also wasted because we do not use it. This is one industry that we need to explore which has not been tapped. Instead of being shipped abroad in their raw form, some Nigerians roast cashew nuts and sell on the streets.

Bottom Line
Cashew Farming is Profitable.
Cashew farming business proposal (make money) Cashew farming business proposal (make money) Reviewed by DailyGgist_Official on May 10, 2019 Rating: 5

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