Cashew Project – Anacardium occidentale

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crop: Cashew
Result: Increase yield and nut size
Location: Vietnam

Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a valuable tropical evergreen tree grown in many Asian and African countries. The “nut” is only one of a number of components of the fruit that has commercial value (cashew oil, cardol and anacardic acid, etc.).

The “apple” has a high content in vitamin C, and hence is a good anti-scurvy medicine. It is also a diuretic. Cashews are very rich in vitamins: A, D, K, PP (which develops during the roasting process) and particularly E (about 2 g/kg), minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron, proteins (containing amino-acids in right proportions), essential fatty acids (oleic and linoleic).

Composition Of Cashew Nut

Proteins 21.0 %
Fat 47.0 %
Moisture 5.9 %
Carbohydrates 22.0 %
Mineral Composition- Mg/Kg

Phosphorus 45.0
Calcium 50.0
Iron 5.0
Amino-Acid Composition – %

Arginine 10.3
Histidine 1.8
Lysine 3.3
Tyrosine 3.2
Phenylalanine 4.4
Cystine 1.0
Methionine 1.3
Threonine 2.8
Valine 4.5
Composition In Fatty Acids Of The Cashew Nut Oil

CASHEW nut oil is very rich in unsaturated fatty acids : 82 %

Oleic acid 60%
Linoleic acid 20%
Almitic acid 10%
Stearic acid 9%
*-linolenic acid 1%
Pharmacological Use

CASHEW nuts are reported to be medicinally active:

in lowering the cholesterol level in the blood
in helping to cure diabetes, kidney disorders
in relieving arthritis and rheumatism
for skin diseases like eczema
for the formation of cell membranes and conjunctive tissues (nuts are good for collagen disorders).
External applications – CASHEW nut oil is used :

as a carrier for liniments
as an anesthetic in leprosy and psoriasis
for blisters, warts, corns and ulcers
Cosmetic Use

Cashew nut oil is obtained by expression and has a delicate and pleasant hazelnut smell which does not persist when incorporated in formulations.

Its natural richness in vitamin E protects it against oxidation and gives the formulated products a free radical scavenging activity.

As all unsaturated vegetable oils, it can be used for:

skin care products for tired or dry skins
hand creams
massage oils
sun and after sun products (oils and milks)
lip balms, etc..
Cashew Oils in Paints, Varnishes, and Resins

This process is exclusively made in India for the world production by hundreds of women wearing gloves or protecting their hands one way or another because of the content in the external shell of a very corrosive product. This product is called Cashew Shell Liquid (CSL), and contains 90 % anacardic acid (a phenolic compound). It is a valuable raw material for a number of polymer-based industries like marine paints, varnishes, resins.

Crop Improvements with Agrostim

Plants of the f. Anacardiaceae respond excellently to Agrostim applications in terms of increased crop yields and resistance to dry growing conditions. The key members of this plant family include the Mango, the Pistachio (Pistachio vera) and Cashew (Anacardium occidentale).

A. Pistachio – Agrostim Yield Increases

Two studies have been completed involving the application of Agrostim on Pistachio in Central California and Iran over a 3 year growing cycle. As you know, one of the problems with pistachio nut culture is the cyclic high yield year followed by a low yield year followed again by a high yield year. This is very typical of trees in this family and Cashew also shows this high year – low year – high year cycle. Agrostim was applied to the soil and as a foliar spray to mature pistachio trees to determine the yield improvements and the conservation of water requirements for the trees.

Pistachio yield increases over control plots were:

High Yield Year Low Yield Year High Yield Year
California1 18.4% 53.1% 17.5%
Iran2 26.3% 67.4% 21.4%
California3 19.5% 52.5% 18.9%
1 Yield improvements expressed in pounds/acre – 1995
2 Yield improvements expressed in kilograms/hectare
3Yield improvements expressed in pounds/acre – 1996

This data clearly confirms the significant increases derived from the use of Agrostim during the normal high yield years – However, for the normal low yield years, Agrostim application greatly enhanced the yields, in both cases by over 50%. This greatly stabilizes the year to year harvest predictions for supplying international markets and reduces the stress on the farmers during the “lean” years.

B. Cashew Nut – Agrostim Yield Increases

Previous documents to you have outlined the potential plans for greatly accelerating you clients Cashew program up to the 500,000 hectares mentioned by Francois in February, 1996. Sometime ago, I recommended we move Agrostim into Cashew areas as soon as possible – coupled to this was the potential utilization of new high yielding Cashew tree strains currently available as well as introducing the newest “tree cropping” techniques.

Recently completed studies by our Indian colleagues on the yields of Cashew from Agrostim treated trees over control trees receiving the standard fertilizer regime, includes an average yield increase from 525 kg/ha to 640 kg/ha in Goa (West coast) and average yield increases from 705 kg/ha to 955 kg/ha at Pondicherry on the East coast of India.

Cashew yield increases over control plots were:

High Yield Year Low Yield Year High Yield Year
India1 18.4% 53.1% 17.5%
India2 26.3% 67.4% 21.4%
USA3 18.9% 48.1% 19.8%
1 Yield improvements expressed in kilograms/hectare – at Goa – 1995
2 Yield improvements expressed in kilograms/hectare – at Pondicherry – 1995
3 Yield improvements expressed in pounds/acre – at Hawaii – 1996

Agrostim usage in Cashew will achieve several potential improvements in the yields of sellable nuts, increased quantities of cashew oils and secondary chemicals, and shorter the time to bring young trees into high production. Recall, we mentioned some interventions beyond the usage of Agrostim which involve the cultivation which would work hand in hand with Agrostim to significantly increase the clients profit margins. We are currently shipping Agrostim to Syria and Iran to improve the pistachio crop yields.

There are 2 major interventions that will vastly increase the value of this project to Mr. Shih’s clients, which we could integrate with the Agrostim optimized fertilizer use schedule. Typically cashew plantations yield approximately 250 kilograms per hectare per year.

Intervention 1 – We modify the tree pruning technology which has already permitted cashew nut yield increases to 600 kg/ha/yr., and is excellent for recuperating low productivity orchards.

Intervention 2 – We modernize the plantation through the use of the latest “dwarf” cashew varieties. This program does 2 very important things: 1) it brings “new” trees into production at 2 years instead of 4 years, and 2) increases mature tree yields up to as high as 1,300 kg/ha/yr. – almost a 5X increase in Yield.

Agrostim with its carefully blended composition of the 19 essential plant nutrients in a chelated form would integrate completely into this program and assure Mr. Shih’s clients of a superb ecologically balanced yet very productive program. This is especially true for the “dwarf” cashew varieties which require a more carefully defined fertilizer regime than standard practices, especially practices focused on N-P-K only. The balanced micro-nutrients are extremely important if one wants to achieve these very large nut yields.