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Cashew Industry


Cashew Industry and export in India

India is among the largest cashew-producing countries in the world. The cashew industry has large economic significance as it employs more than 10 lakh people on farms and factories in rural areas. The cultivation of cashew in India covers a total of 0.7 million hectares of land, and the country produces over 0.8 million tonnes (MT) annually. Between 2019-20 and 2021-22, India's cashew nut production grew from 0.70 million tonnes (MT) to 0.77 million tonnes (MT). In India, cashew cultivation spread along the coastal regions of the peninsula. Cashew is mainly grown in states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Odessa, West Bengal, and some parts of the North-Eastern region. According to data published by the National Horticulture Board (NHB), Maharashtra stands first in annual cashew nut production during 2021-22 at 0.20 million tonnes (MT), growing from 0.19 million tonnes cashew nut produced in 2020-21.
Besides the vast scale of cashew production, India is also known for pioneering cashew processing and exporting cashew kernels across the globe. The cashew processing industry was earlier concentrated in Kollam (Kerala), Mangalore (Karnataka), Goa, and Vettapalam (Andhra Pradesh), but now it is spread across many states of India. Over the years, India has emerged as the global processing hub for the cashew industry.
India is the largest cashew exporter, with more than 15% of the world's export share. India primarily exports Cashew Kernels and very small quantities of Cashewnut shell liquid. During 2021-22, the cashew exports by value grew from US$ 420 million in 2020-21 to US$ 452 million in 2021-22, witnessing a growth of 7%. Between April-August 2022, cashew exports stood at US$ 134.38 million.
In terms of volume, India's cashew exports recorded an increase of 9% from 70.5 million kg in 2020-21 to reach 76.8 million kg in 2021-22. Between April-August 2022, cashew exports volume stood at 18 million kg.
In March 2022, the country exported cashews worth US$ 40.0 million, up from US$ 33.6 million in February 2022.
Importing of raw cashew nuts has played a key role in the growth of the Indian cashew industry, which accounts for almost half of the domestic and export demand for cashew kernels in the country. To address the same, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), had implemented various initiatives that led to increased domestic production of cashew. It includes massive area expansion under cashew cultivation and replacing senile cashew plantations with high-yielding varieties in traditional and non-traditional states. DAC&FW has also approved the roadmap program to extend the cashew cultivation area by 1.20 lakh hectare presented by the Directorate of Cashew nut & Cocoa Development (DCCD).
India exports cashews to over 60 countries spread across different parts of the world. The key export destinations for India are UAE, Japan, Netherland, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK, Canada, France, Israel, and Italy. As per the APEDA statistics on the exports of cashew kernels and Cashewnut shell liquid, UAE is the largest importer of Indian cashews, valued at US$ 131.5 million, accounting for 29% of overall exports during 2021-22 as compared to US$ 98.5 million in the previous year. In volume terms, India's cashew exports to UAE stood at 16.6 million kg, growing by 29% from 12.8 million kg of exports recorded in the previous year.
Japan and Netherland are among the top 3 importers of Indian cashews, with a share of exports at 13% and 9%, respectively. India's cashew kernels and Cashewnut shell liquid exports to Japan and Netherland are valued at US$ 58.1 million and US$ 41.1 million, respectively. Vietnam, a key importer of Indian cashews, has consistently grown in imports of India's cashew at a CAGR of 7% from 2016-17 to 2021-22. The top 10 importing countries of Indian cashew have a share of 84% of the total exports, which implies the huge significance of traditional markets. This strong growth in cashew exports across export destinations continues to drive economic growth and employment generation in India's key cashew-growing states.
The Government of India and the cashew export promotion council have undertaken several initiatives for the ease of exports and growth of the cashew industry. As non-financial assistance to exporters, many trade delegations, buyer-seller meets, fairs, development workshops, and research and development data are provided. Additionally, in 2018, the Basic Customs Duty on raw cashew nut was reduced to 2.5% from the previous 5%, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the same was reduced to 5% from 12%.
As the cashew industry's domestic demand and exports are heavily dependent on imported raw cashew nuts, the Government of India has taken several steps to support efficient sourcing. These include:
  • Changes in import policy for cashew kernel (both broken and whole)
  • Revision of the standard inputs output norms (SION) for cashew exports
  • Approval of Medium Term Framework scheme for process mechanization and automation of cashew processing units with a financial outlay of Rs. 60 crore (US$ 8 million)
  • Allowing duty-free import of raw cashew nuts under Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme from least developed countries (LDCs)
  • The government has also extended financial assistance to the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) for organizing buyer-seller meet (BSM) and participation in international fairs under Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme, which supports tapping new markets.
Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI)
The Government of India established the CEPCI in 1955 with the objective of promoting cashew kernels and cashew nut shell liquid in India. The council provides trade information and statistics to its members and is operating the government's five-year plan scheme for providing financial assistance to the member exporters.

Source: India Brand Equity Foundation

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