Cashew in General


Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, which includes about 60 genera and 400 species, among mango (Mangifera indica L.) and pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) are also included.

Cashew trees are evergreen and can grow rapidly up to 20 m, but usually reach 8-12 m height. Anacardium occidentale L. is an andromonoeic species, with male and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant and in the same panicle.

Cashew growing areas with production in the world

Raw Cashew Nuts Production 2020/2021 

Cashew Harvesting:

Flowering takes place from December to April in the Northern hemisphere, and from June to December in the Southern hemisphere, with a higher concentration from September to November. 

The cashew has crossed fertilization. About a week after fertilization, the green nut with a puny apple (false fruit) appears. The nut rapidly grows till it reaches almost 80% of its final size. 

The fruit starts growing to become wider and apple-shaped after the nut attains its full size. 


The apple has a thin green skin and as it matures the colour turns red or yellow and becomes fragrant. Meanwhile, the nut’s shell becomes hard and turns grey in colour and the kernel grows within the nut. 

Nut and apple fall to the ground when fully mature. The time for fruit maturity varies from 2-3 months depending on the variety, the health of the tree, and the climate conditions during fruit growth. 

Harvest takes place during dry weather and nuts are harvested only when the apples are fully ripe. Three to four flowering and fruiting in a 3–4-month horizon makes multiple harvesting necessary. The nut remains firmly attached to the apple and consequently the bulk of the harvest consists of the cashew apples. The nuts are separated from the fruits, sun-dried for 2-3 days, and sent to factories for de-shelling and further processing. 

  • The chart shows the higher concentration months of flowering, but the flowering season can be longer depending on the tree variety and the zone. 
  • Overall harvesting seasons are similar in the producing countries, depending on the location relative to the equator. 
  • Countries north of the equator, including India, Vietnam, and West Africa, start harvesting early in the calendar year until approximately mid-year. 
  • Countries south of the equator, including Brazil and East Africa, harvest from September or October to early in the following calendar year

Cashew Processing:

Processing Cashew Fruit (Drupes) into Kernels Generally the processing of raw cashew nuts into edible cashew kernels takes the following steps  

Traditional method:  (i) roasting; (ii) shelling; (iii) drying; (iv) peeling; (v) grading; (vi) quality controls/fumigation; and (vii) packaging.  Shelling the nuts is labour intensive and is usually done by hand many years ago, especially some small-scale factories in India, Vietnam.

However, Innovation in cashew processing equipment has continued in the past 10 years ago. There have been significant advancements in sophisticated shelling and peeling lines at the higher end of the technological spectrum for medium and large-scale factories. 

the automatic cashew processing factory takes the following steps by equipment: sizing sorting, boiling & steaming, shelling machine, drying, peeling, auto-grading, QC, fumigation and packaging, most of hard works be replaced by equipment, 


Cashew Grade: 

Cashew Kernels are graded after peeling, each of which can give you an idea about the kernels’ shape, size, colour and subsequently, its pricing. Based on these factors, the kernels are categorized into white/scorched whole, pieces, splits, butts etc.


W-180 is at the top of the list when it comes to size and price. Easily the largest and the most expensive kind of cashew nut, W-180 is commonly referred to as “King of Cashews” owing to its large size. The W-180 Cashew Price in itself is reflective of the grades’ value and quality.


W-240 is an attractive grade, also known as a standard size cashew. W-240 Cashew Price falls in the mid-range.


A cashew nut that is available abundantly, W-320 is the most widely sold and distributed cashews in the world. It ranks high in consumer preference because of W-320 cashew price and its size.


The W-450 cashew nuts are easy to spot because of their small size. The W-450 cashew price bracket is also one of the lowest making it popular among the low-priced whole grade. 

part from White Wholes, here’s an entire list of Cashew Grades over multiple categories.

    • White Wholes – 180
    • White Wholes – 240
    • White Wholes – 320
    • White Wholes – 450
    • White Wholes – 500 
    • Scorched Wholes SW
    • Scorched Wholes SW – 180
    • Scorched Wholes SW – 240
    • Scorched Wholes SW – 320
    • Scorched Wholes SW – 450
    • Scorched Wholes SW – 500 
    • Scorched Wholes Seconds
    • Dessert Wholes DW 
    • Butts B
    • Splits S
    • Large White Pieces (LWP)
    • Small White Pieces (SWP)
    • Baby Bits BB 
    • Scorched Butts SB
    • Scorched Splits SS
    • Scorched Pieces SP
    • Scorched Small Pieces SSP
    • Scorched Pieces Seconds (SPS)
    • Dessert Pieces DP


Cashew Package:

There is no general rule for the size of packaging for exported cashew nuts, but the most common type of export packaging is 10 kg to 25 kg polybags. In order to prolong the shelf life, bags are often vacuum-sealed by extracting the air and injecting carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Cashew nuts are also packaged in airtight tins. 

Quality Assurance: 

To ensure the safety of cashews, international growers and processors are setting a wide range of good practices. Cashews are produced with consideration for quality control and food safety international standards. Careful practices have been established to control the chemical, microbiological, pesticide, and contaminant content.

The following programs are endorsed by the industry: 

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), which provide growers guidelines and principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, to provide safety and healthy cashews, minimizing potential hazards, such as pathogens, contaminants, and pest management materials. 

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which define procedures to be used in the processing, packaging, storing, and transport stages by handlers to ensure the quality of the product. GMPs are used by handlers to treat cashews under the best sanitary conditions. 


Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which provides a systematic preventive approach to food safety that identifies, assesses, and controls the risk of biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes

Cashew Nuts Oil (CNSL)

  • The cashew kernel occurs within a shell, which contains an inedible phenolic oil, also known as cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) which has wide industrial uses thanks to its polymerizing and friction-reducing properties.
  • Natural CNSL is a mixture of phenolic compounds with aliphatic side chains, and these are 70% anacardia acid, 5% cardanol, and 18% cardol.