Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Cashew Paradox

In the world of globally traded nuts (cashew nut, Brazil nut, hazel nut, walnut, almond) cashew-nuts occupy a prominent place,  accounting for nearly 20% of total trade by weight. 

Originally from South America, global production of this commodity is now dominated by Vietnam, India, Brazil and a few West African countries.

India, despite being the largest processor & exporter of cashew nuts at 4.5 million cartons (nearly double that of Vietnam at 2.3 m), is a laggard when it comes to technical innovations that would define the business in the years to come. One of the most critical elements in the processing industry has traditionally been the highly skilled, labor-intensive task of shelling and peeling cashews.

With its numerous R&D centers aimed specifically at agro-processing industry, one would have expected to see cashew shelling & peeling machines to emerge from India. Instead, what we are seeing now is that the most cost-effective machines are being imported to India, not from one of the industrially advanced countries, but from Vietnam!

What is it about Vietnam that is making it a leading innovator, as well as a formidable competitor in the agri-commodities trade?

  • Cashew Processing Machine:
  • Si Chuan Co -
  • Indian demand fuels African cashew trade (Kate Thomas,28 July, 2010, This is Africa) - 
  • Cashew trade mellows on waning demand (G K Nair, HinduBL, 28 Apr., 2011) -
  • Food Museum - Cashew -
  • Cashew Trade Overview -
  • Cashew Export Promotion Council India -
  • CRN India - Commodities Trade -
  • Africa Biz Online -

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