The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that yields cashew nuts and apples. While it can reach a height of 14 metres (46 feet), the dwarf cashew, which can reach a height of 6 metres (20 feet), has proven to be more lucrative due to its earlier maturity and higher yields. Since it is a fruit, the cashew nut is eaten as a snack or used in dishes like most nuts. The cashew apple is a fruit whose pulp can be made into a soft, astringent fruit drink or refined into liqueur. In the international market, Indian cashew is known for its consistency, colour, and flavour.
Cashews from India are consumed in more than 60 countries around the world. As a result of the market, it is a successful project to invest in for entrepreneurs. Cashew is a cash crop and a widely prized nut in the global economy. It is also referred to as the "poor man's crop and rich man's food." Cashew farming covers the largest region in India. In terms of efficiency, processing, and pricing, however, this is not the case. In fact, the Indian cashew industry has significant untapped potential to help cashew farmers' livelihoods, create multiple job opportunities, and increase returns through global trade.
Cashew processing is a collection of unit operations used to make the edible nut available. Differences in cashew, availability of equipment-type, human capital, and fuel supply are all factors that contribute to differences in processing technique between manufacturers. The majority of cashew processing units in India are located in rural areas. Unit processes such as roasting, shell liquid separation, and shelling were mechanised after 1960. The majority of other processing phases, on the other hand, are still as time-consuming as manual operations.
India was the first nation to join the cashew trade on a global scale. In 3650 cashew processing mills around the world, the country produced around 1.14 million tonnes of cashew. From 170 in 1959 to over 3500 in 2008, the number of cashew processing mills has increased dramatically. Around 0.5 million employees are employed in the industry, with almost all of them being women (Anon, 2009). The organised sector accounts for 46% of cashew processing, while the unorganised sector accounts for 54%. The Indian cashew processing industry has an annual demand of 1.5 million tonnes, of which only half is covered by current supply. In order to keep up with the growing demand.
During the forecast period, the processed cashew market in India is expected to develop at a CAGR of 9.33 percent (2020-2025). In recent years, the cashew kernel industry has seen a rapid change in consumption patterns across India, owing to the growing popularity of flavoured assorted cashew items in the retail market. As people becoming more health-conscious, they continue to snack on nutritious foods, which is driving up demand for flavoured cashews in India. However, the cashew market in the country is likely to be hampered because the local population prefers lighter snacks for on-the-go snacking that are available at lower prices.
The cashew industry in India is almost entirely export-oriented. According to the Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development India, more than 3,900 processing units in the organised and unorganised sectors are operating in India as of March 2020, with a cashew processing capability of 16.43 lakh MT per year. The plain/salted cashews segment accounts for a significant portion of the processed cashew industry, while the majority of Indian customers choose to eat cashews in their natural state for nutrition. In a nutshell, changing social mindset and awareness for health makes cashew processing, a bankable industry.
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