WHAT IS CASHEW?
Cashews are a type of nut with a soft consistency and sweet flavor. They are native to South America, specifically Brazil, and were introduced by colonists to Africa and India. These regions are the largest producers of cashews today. Cashews are sold both raw or roasted and salted or unsalted. Cashews have recently been used to make dairy alternatives, such as cashew milk, cashew-based cheese, and cashew-based cream sauces, and sour cream.
Cashews are a good source of protein and minerals. Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body. These include the metabolism of food and the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. Magnesium is also involved in muscle relaxation and neuromuscular transmission and activity. Magnesium deficiency, prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Cashew farming business is a silent money-spinner, you may never know until you engage in it or be closer to a dealer. Nigeria as a nation is seriously milking money out from cashew exportation. For now, we are the number 6 producers of raw cashew nuts in Africa, falling under Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mozambique according to the cashew association. For Nigeria to become the second-highest exporters we need to export about 500,000 tons of raw cashew, we are far below the target. This is where you can come in as an investor or entrepreneur in other to help achieve this goal. The business is not a quick rich kind of business but worth the wait. It involves a lot of capital both in planting and harvesting.
Acquire land, I would not advise leasing because it is a long-term investment. So buy the land in the village, secure it by getting the necessary papers. The best soil to use is sandy soil with laterite. Clear grasses and cut down shrubs and trees. Mix the sand with animal dung if the nutrient is low but you have to test the soil first to know its nutrient level. Cashew farming can be done both in wet and dry tropics.
Digging the plant holes can be done with the dribbler, machete, and hoe. Farmers should start by measuring a stick of 30 cm to be used for the width and the depth of the hole. Then they dig the hole with a dribbler and remove the soil with hoe They should separate the soil into two parts because they put the topsoil on one side and the lower layer on the other side because the topsoil is more fertile. During the planting, he will put the topsoil in the hole first.
Planting cashew from seed is as stressful as that of coffee and oil palm. That is why it is advisable you buy already sprouted seedlings from an established nursery with good species or propagated plants the seedlings take 3 years to produce while the direct ones (seed planting) takes 5 years to produce Farmers have two options to obtain plant material for his new cashew farm sowing with cashew seed nuts or using grafted plants.
For a grafted plant, for example, a farmer should make a hole with depth according to the size (7 cm by 10 cm) of the seedling poly bag. With a knife, the polybag can be cut at the base, and placing the seedling in the hole, and pulling up carefully the poly bag. Then the plant can be covered with the soil but the collar can be left free of soil. For commercial purposes go for the grafted ones.
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. The weakest ones are thinned out later and the strongest left to develop further. Cashew 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.
Apply nitrogen, phosphorus, and zinc fertilizers. Cashew crops need nutrients at every point in their development to grow faster and to produce good fruits. During the growing stage give them fertilizer also during fruiting and flowering. Apply farmyard manure.
Prune cashew trees regularly to remove weak, dead, and entangled branches and branches that are infested with diseases or pests. Also, cut overcrowded branches to promote vigorous growth.
Irrigate your cashew farm during the dry season or when drought sets in during the wet season. To produce more fruits water them adequately and regularly. Don’t bother to water the plants during the rainy season but irrigate them once n a week or twice during the dry season. In cashew farming, 25oC temperature is ideal for optimum growth. 6 hours of direct sunlight is needed every day. If you make the mistake of growing them under shade they will not fruit.
HARVESTING/DRYING OF CASHEW NUTS
The ripe fruit starts dropping from late January. Before the trees start dropping their fruits make sure you clear around the trees. Remove the grasses and other weeds around the tree to allow for effective picking of the raw cashew nuts. When the fruit falls; it, therefore, means they are matured. Pick the nuts within 2 to 3 days of falling to avoid quality reduction.
Use a sharp knife to detach the apple from the nut ineffective detaching of the nuts would affect the quality. Dry them on a clean surface and keep turning them frequently to ensure uniform drying. Don’t dry them indoors because they would be a delay in drying which can lead to decay. Do not also dry them on a metallic surface because of rust. When the nuts are well dried they would produce a rattling sound when turned. The drying may take few days such as 2-3 but always carry them inside during dusk to avoid moisture entering the nut.
HOW TO STORE CASHEW NUT?
Store them in jute bags and not in containers, sacks, plastics, or their likes, stitch the jute bag to avoid spoilage. Place the bags on wooden pallets in a dry place with good ventilation. Don’t place them on the floor to avoid moisture absorption that may spoil them. Leave a clearance of 0.5m between each bag for air to circulate properly, sell the nuts within the same year of harvest to avoid nuts deterioration.
WHY YOU SHOULD START CASHEW FARMING
It is a long term earning investment that can last more than 50 years. Cashew nut is the best product gotten from cashew farming, however, you can process the apple into fruit juice for more money. The nuts are in high demand and the price keeps doubling every passing year thereby making it extremely profitable. The price of cashew nuts is most times determined in dollars because majority of the people who deal on it are exporters.
If you are interested in cashew farming you could contact SUNTWIST NIGERIA LIMITED, we are here to bring your dreams to reality. Contact us on 08102777209.