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Cashew Farming in the Philippines

Not known to many, cashew farming is a very profitable business in the Philippines, and in this article, I am going to explain why.

Although cashew may not be considered a very important crop compared to corn, rice, sugarcane, coffee, soybean, peanut, potato, and others, it has its own niche and cashew farmers are actually enjoying better profit than those who are planting other major crops, especially the sugarcane. If you have a small piece of land and are interested in cashew farming either as a hobby or for profit, continue reading.

Cashew Farming in the Philippines

Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), locally known as Kasoy, is a tropical tree that produces cashew nuts and cashew apples. It is a very popular street food and snack along with salted peanuts sold on provincial buses in the country. It is, however, an expensive snack for its serving size.

The cashew fruit has many uses, especially in other countries but let’s focus on the nut and the apple. The nut as mentioned above, is a popular snack, while the whole fruit, or the apple, can be eaten fresh, cooked, fermented as vinegar, or as an alcoholic drink. It can also be used as animal feed.

cashew farming in the Philippines
Cashew fruit image credit Wikimedia Commons

Cashew Nut Nutrition

The cashew nut is rich in carbohydrates and monosaturated fats. It is also rich in Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B6, Pantothenic acid (B5), Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium among others.

Cashew Farming (Planting, Fruiting, and Yield)

For starters, if you are planning to plant cashew trees we recommend having at least half a hectare of land where you can plant 50 cashew trees at 10 meters distance from each tree. 

There are several varieties of cashew trees in the Philippines but the UPLB recommends planting Guevara cashew. The mother tree of ‘Guevara’ cashew is moderately vigorous with spreading branches. It is prolific and bears fruits annually, which can be harvested from March to April. The ripe apple is yellow and weighs 80g, measures 7cm long, and 5cm in diameter. It is very juicy, moderately fibrous, and subacid. The nut weighs 6.8g and measures 3cm long, 2.6cm is wide and 1.6cm thick. Its shell is ash gray and the kernel is white which weighs 2.6g and 38% of the nut by weight.

Cashew plants start bearing after three years of planting and reach full bearing during the tenth year and continue giving remunerative yields for another 20 years. The cashew nuts are harvested from March to April. Normally, harvesting consists of picking nuts that have dropped to the ground after maturing.

The average yield per tree (processed nut) increases from about 2kg at 3-5 years to 4-5kg at 6-10 years and 5-10 kg when trees are 11-15 years of age. Thereafter, trees yield in excess of 10kg as the trees get older. Raw cashew nuts are a seasonal commodity and the trading season is from March to May. In the Philippines though, traders sometimes hold stocks good for year-long selling.

If you have a half hectare of kasoy plantation and all 50 trees bear fruits after 3 years with a minimum average of 2kgs per tree, you should get at least 100kgs. With the current price of P480 per kilo (the lowest online), you should get around P48,000 gross income. In Palawan where more than 85% of cashew nuts are produced, nut processing would cost you between P50 to P70 per kilo. This would give you a net income of at least P35,000 excluding all expenses in labor and transportation. The good thing about cashew trees is that your income increases as the trees grow bigger, You just need to buy 2 to 3 sacks of 14-14-14 fertilizer which would cost you less than P10,000.

The price of kasoy increases each year and if you want to have a higher income, you can set up your online store and sell up to P550 per kilo. With unique packaging, you can sell up to P600 per kilo.

Processing of Nuts

Processing cashew nuts is not that complicated for smaller-scale production. You don’t need a machine to turn raw seeds into nuts. There are lots of videos on YouTube on how to process cashew nuts but you can watch the following:

Intercropping

Since cashews trees are planted 10 meters apart, you have enough space to plant other crops, especially during the early years. You can plant bananas, papaya, and even corn and vegetables during the first up to 3rd or 4th year so the land will not be wasted. 

Pruning and Other Care

Cashew trees need pruning. Since you need its fruits, it is not logical to allow the trees to grow taller so you must cut or bend those branches pointing upwards, or those that tend to grow taller. It might be difficult to pick the fruits come harvest time if you allow the branches to grow taller. 

Since cashew is a fruit product and a tree, it is not susceptible to major diseases like those in bananas and coconuts. Continued cleaning and sometimes smoking (burning of dead organic materials underneath) can help control pests and insects. 

We cover only the basics in this article. If you think you need more information, especially on how to process the nuts, there are a lot of videos on YouTube and articles from related sources.

Some Questions About Cashew Farming

Is the cashew farming business profitable?

Based on the observations, an economic analysis of the cashew farming and cashew nut processing plant showed that, if the plant is operated with full capacity and efficiency then there would be a net profit of at least P1,200 per tree per year.

Can cashews grow in the Philippines?

Cashew is a commodity that has been marketed primarily for its nuts. The province of Palawan in the Philippines is known as the top cashew-producing province where 90% of the total supply is being produced. In fact, with the abundance of the fruit, cashew has been regarded as Palawan’s One Town, One Product (OTOP)

What is the cost of 1 kg of cashew nut?

As of this writing, the average cost of cashew nut in the Antipolo trading station is P500 with class A (whole kernel) ranging from P550 to P600.

Which country exports the most cashews?

Vietnam has maintained its position as the world’s largest producer and exporter of cashew nuts in 2020, exporting an estimated 450,000 tonnes of cashew kernels worth 3.2 billion USD, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas).

How is the cashew business?

The cashew processing business is considered highly unorganized and a bit scattered. Hence, if carried out properly, the business can promise good profits. Women constitute almost 90 percent of the labor force in the cashew industry. Mechanization in cashew nut processing is picking up slowly.

How many pieces of cashew nuts are there in 1kg of nuts?

The average weight of a single roasted cashew nut is about 1.6g so converting it to one kilo, you would have 625 pieces of cashew nuts in 1 kilogram of roasted cashew.

What are the benefits of eating cashew nuts daily?

Research suggests that people who eat a small serving of cashews every day see a minor reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol. In addition to lowering rates of LDL cholesterol, cashews may help to prevent heart disease due to their high magnesium content.

What are the disadvantages of cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts may also cause bloating, constipation, weight gain, and joint swelling in some people. But these side effects are rare. When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if cashew is safe. If the unroasted cashew is used it might cause skin irritation, redness, and blisters.

Are cashews toxic?

“Cashews themselves aren’t toxic, but they are surrounded by a shell that consists of the toxic oil urushiol Coming into contact with urushiol can cause itching, blisters, and skin rashes.

Is broken cashew good?

Is Broken Cashew Good For Health? Broken cashews still have the same nutritional value as whole cashews. It’s still good for our health.

Why Kasoy is famous in Antipolo?

One of the most popular “pasalubong” from Antipolo is their roasted cashew nuts or kasoy. They said that Antipolo’s kasoy is the best tasting cashew nuts in the country and considering how many people patronize the product despite of being very pricey only proved that they gave justice to what they are claiming. Antipolo kasoy mostly come from palawan though.

Does cashew increase sperm count?

Cashew nuts are rich in zinc which is essential to improve sperm count in males and fertility chances. Also, regular intake of cashew may help control weight and diabetes which increases male fertility drastically.

Can a diabetic eat cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts contain high levels of beneficial fats, the consumption of which can raise the good cholesterol and reduce the bad cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Undoubtedly, they are one of the best nuts for diabetes.

Do cashews raise blood sugar?

Cashews contain less amount of fat as compared to other nuts. Moreover, they have no negative impact on the blood glucose level or weight

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