This fruit being easily digestible is favorite among old, youth and children as well. The production being less than the demand and due to its high prices, cashew farming is financially beneficial. India exports cashews worth about 120 crores to about 20 countries and there is a possibility of increase in the demand.
Generally this tree is of medium size with spread out branches and big leaves. But height of 25 to 30 feet is possible. The scientific name is Anacardium occidentale.
Planting is possible by sowing seeds and using grafted plant. Fusion grafted plants give more production and so it is beneficial to use grafts for planting. Easy method like Nitan grafting is used for cashew grafts.
For Cashew plants good filtered land, sedimentary medium black soil, river bank or soil of the river bed with red hilly soil is suitable.
Hot but balanced humid conditions near the seashore are more suitable. Water requirement is less and so survives in water scarcity. It can grow in 600 mm of rainfall. But at the time of blooming, high temperature, cloudy atmosphere or heavy rainfall can cause damage. On experimental basis, different breeds of cashew plants were brought from Ventula in Maharashtra and planted in Dharia in Gujarat by the agriculture university. The successful growth and development of the plants has confirmed a good possibility of cashew farming in the state.
In summer, at a distance of 7 X7, 8 X 8, 9 X 9 pits of 60 cm should be dug. At the base of the pits, 5 kgs of animal dung fertilizer, 250 gms phosphate and 250 gms of potash mixed with soil should be layered. Rest of the pit should be filled with fertile soil.
Any time with irrigation or after the first good rainfall that is June or July.
For cashew grafted plants irrigation is necessary for good growth. When monsoon is delayed or in the months other than the monsoon, water should be irrigated for 4 to 6 days to keep the land moist. For 3 to 4 years, fertilizer in lots should be given as suggested, every time. But in 2 to 4 installments in May – June and September – October fertilizer should be given.fertilizer should be added at a distance of 3 to 4.5 feet at a little high livel.
Completely developed tree needs 125 gms of Potash and 50 kgs of animal dung fertilizer or should be given organic fertilizer in two parts. In the beginning regular weeding should be done. Deep digging damages the upper layer of the original fiber of the tree. Therefore deep weeding should be avoided. By spreading green grass and leaves in the pits it is possible to hold moisture and control weeding. During the growth period, the cashew tree needs layoffs. Branches growing to the land level and out of the circumference, weak and infected branches ought to be specially removed.
Tee mosquito (red colored insects similar to mosquitoes) sucks away the nectar at the time of flowering and the branches dry up. For this, first sprinkle of 00.5 % endosulfan at the time of flowering in October, second sprinkle in December – January and the third sprinkle is to be done at the time of fruit germination to stop the loss of immature fruits. If the insect eating up the main trunk is of black or coffee color, it should be traced and destroyed and the affected skin of the tree should be peeled off. After that B.H.C 0.1% should be poured on the trunk and root of that side or else 1 - 2 tablets of aluminum phosfide should be inserted In each tree. This insect lays eggs in the slits of the trunk. The larvae of this feed itself by carving the trunk. A sticky substance oozes from the part where the insect is. The leaves of the tree turn yellow. Therefore control is needed. Sometimes a disease named dieback is also found in this tree.
The tree produces after about three years. Flowering occurs in 2 to 3 phases from November to January. Fruits are formed from the initial flowers in two months whereas the later flowers turn into fruits in one and half months. Fruits are to be reaped after one and half to two months of formation. It is beneficial to reap the nuts (Cashew) daily. Fruits form in plenty during March – April. Smooth, brown and healthy nuts are supposed to be of good quality. After collecting the nuts they should be dried in shades.
Produce of Eatable cashews per tree is about 10 to 15 kgs. As the tree grows, double the produce is possible.
Along with the cashew plantation, vegetables or pulses or some flowers can be taken as rotating crops. Banana, papaya or watermelon can be chosen as per the quality of the soil. Rotating crops are possible to some extent for many years.
The white bean of the fruit is directly used for eating. The fruit of cashew (cashew apple) has juice which contains 10.5 to 12.5 % sugar. These fruits contain 5 times vitamins compared to lemon family fruits (26103 mg /1000 gm), therefore jam, juice, jelly, syrup and wine are made out of these fruits. The liquid inside the hard cover of the fruit (cashewroll liquid) is used in polymer based industries like varnish, paints and Rexene industry.
The expenditure on plantation depends on farmers’ resources. Yield depends on soil, climate, inputs and management practices carried out by farmers. Rate depends upon the market condition. Hence company does not guarantee any parameters in the ECONOMICS. The Economics printed in only as indication to give an idea to those interested in taking plantation. Third and fourth rotations depend on the stump mortality and stump vitality. Escalation of price and expenditure not considered. Under optimum conditions, duration of the rotation can be four years.