Cashew, known as one of the four most popular nuts, has a natural form of soft and white kernel meats included in hard shells of kidney-shaped. For homemade, cashew can be eaten alone (cooking for 3 minutes and then frying until it becomes crispy); in recipes such as Cashew Prawns(a dish of frying cashews with shrimps) or Indian curries; or could be processed into cashew cream, cashew cheese and used in baking.
Cashew is not only crispy & tasty but also it contains rich nutrition such as proteins, fats, and vitamins to a high degree. Modern medical research shows that cashew has many important medical and health effects for human, such as cashew are rich in fat, can be laxative and has a good moisturizing beauty effect. This cashew fat in the main component is unsaturated fatty acids, which can protect the blood vessels, cardiovascular disease prevention, and treatment of great benefits.
Cashew health care function has arisen more and more people’s attention around worldwide. With the improvement of people’s living standards, Human’s demand for cashew products is growing year by year.
Cashew Processing Products
Besides the above function, cashew could also be processed industrially and make its value fully realized. The main processed products are cashew kernel and cashew shell oil.
1 Cashew Kernel
The main products of cashew nut are cashew kernel, around 60% of cashew kernel are eaten in the form of roasted snack. While the other 40% is used in confectionery. The data show that the most common cashew products are roasted cashew kernel. Since the 1960s, mechanized equipment has developed in some areas. Now, various cashew processing machines have been applied in small and medium factories in most countries and is available. The primary processing methods are shelling, steaming, roasting, etc.
2 Cashew Nut Shell Liquid
Once the kernels are separated from shells, you can collect the shell and it could be further processed and extracted out cashew nut shell liquid. This liquid is a kind of resin and could be used in industrial braking system, rubber manufacturing, and paint processing industry.
In Zambia, cashew is an important commercial crop and will be processed through the following series of steps:
After cultivated, the mature cashews need be sun-dried for 2 to 3 days, until the water content up to the qualified level. Removing water is mainly to prevent cashew nuts from deteriorating.
Choose the clean dried nuts, remove debris and bad nuts.
3. Steam cooking
Steam cooking raw cashew nut until its shell becomes soft. This step is prepared for cashew nuts shelling. The steaming can also remove cashew shell oil’s irritating components. In Zambia, people will also roast cashews on fire until the oil’s harmful components evaporate, and people must wear gloves in this process to avoid skin corrosion.
4. Shelling and separating
Cashew nut can be shelled by machine or artificial method. The cashew nut cracking & shelling machine is equipped with blades to crack cashews and shells split, and its yield is 170kg/h. However, one labor’s working output to remove coat on cashew nuts is 5 kg kernels every eight hours. Then, the shelled cashew can be separated from shells & un-shelled cashew automatically by machine or manual.
Next, the cashew kernel can be peeled by cashew peeling machine with compressed air separator, the machine adopts dry-peel technology and won’t damage the cashew kernel. The manual method is rubbing kernel mildly by fingers or a bamboo knife.
Grading can ensure the overall cashews an evenly quality and make it qualified to through sampling inspection.
When packing, nuts’ humidity should be controlled. If the packaging is too dry, the cashew nuts will easy to break in the transport. If the packaging is too wet, the cashew nuts will easy to mildew. The packed cashew should be stored in cool and dry place.
Analysis of Zambia Cashew Industry
1. Zambia cashew industry’s features & problems
Cashew, which is cultivated from cashew tree, is suitable to grow in tropical regions for it is sensitive to frost & better adapts to the tropical climate. Africa is cashew’s main growing country, but its cashew production yield only accounts for 45% of the world production. In Africa, only 5% of cashew material will be processed and exported to the worldwide. While in countries like Vietnam, India and Brazil, their cashew processing rate can be up to 95%. Zambia is located in south-central Africa, in recent years, the Zambian government has enlarged cashew growing area for earning export exchange. However, as a landlocked country, Zambia still has to solve the following exist problems: high export cost, limited processing scale, lacking effective cashew products’ circulation channels. We can think that the main reasons are cashew products yield problem & lack of competitive caused.
In addition,cashew allergies are an increasingly serious problem. So people with allergies in the consumption of food should pay attention to the risk of allergies.
2.1 Firstly, government should continue to encourage farmers to cultivate excellent new varieties, develop high-yielding varieties. And the relevant lecture could be organized to study cultivation techniques.
2.2 Secondly, Zambia need develop the proper economic union. Under economic globalization, India and Brazil export 60 % & 30% cashew respectively of the global market share. Zambia sector should be promoted in trading with India, Brazil and Vietnam, this will lead Zambia into a positive competition and share equipment technology with them to break its isolated situation & stimulate market circulation channels.
2.3 Thirdly, in today’s Zambia, the processors are still lack of equipment information. What’s more, the experienced processor has fixed buying resources and won’t easily choose the alternatives. Our company’s cashew processing equipment have advanced technical support and complete overseas after-sale service, and we welcome worldwide customers to compare and invest.
2.4 Forth, in Zambia, the cashew processing factories are still in small and medium scales. They may choose cashew of small amount package to export, and this is a better way when exporting to countries which have limit in imported products weight.
2.5 Finally, the main importer countries are United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and the UK. Zambia can find its own product strengths such as: a kind of quality cashew through complete irrigation crop planting & climate advantages, then directly establish trade relation with proper countries with high demands. And the labor cost in Zambia is relatively low comparing with developed countries.