Structure of the World Cashew Nut Industry
Traditionally, the industry has consisted of three major groups of participants: raw material producers, cashew nut processors, and cashew nut consumers. Raw material producers are located in countries like India, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, and Brazil.
Other potential countries that could become raw material producers include many West African countries, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Guatemala, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Until recently, only India had an efficient processing industry for cashew nuts. During processing, the nut shell is cracked and peeled to get to the inner core. The process is very labor intensive. Only recently have some of the African nations bought equipment that will perform the same process.
With the arrival of such cashew nut peeling machinery, India has lost its monopoly over processing. The primary cashew nut consumers are the United States, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
The industry in India began in the early 1900’s. Originally, only small amounts of processed nuts were exported to the United States and the United Kingdom. As demand grew, India’s raw materials were insufficient to meet demand. As a result, a flourishing import trade developed with East Africa.
In 1973, India produced only 30 percent of all cashew nuts but processed 75 percent of all cashew nuts. Due to the high commercial value of the cashew nut, many countries try to promote the harvesting and processing of these nuts. As a result, the supply of cashew nuts is expected to grow as many other countries enter the market.