Cashew nuts paradox: SME’s disruption, revolution and future of S-East in the multi-Billion naira industry
In the Sixties, Old Eastern region, depended on Palm oil like other regions depended on cocoa and groundnut for its economy to thrive. When oil became the focus, these cash crops and other non-oil sector income generating were abandoned, but with the drop in oil prices worldwide and need to shore up internal revenue by states, the South East states should look into the multi-million Dollar cashew business capable of taking off 1000 unemployed youths every year out of the streets into the Industry. This is achievable through establishment of SME’s in the cashew value chain discovered to have unique selling point for Nsukka, Enugu state, South East Nigeria. Enjoy the investigative report by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu who toured some sections of South East in the course of this report.
Cash crop is an agricultural crop grown to sell for profit. Coffee, cocoa, tea, sugarcane, cotton, and spices are some examples of cash crops. Some food crops rice, wheat, and corn are also grown as cash crops to meet global food demand. Some cash crops in Nigeria are coffee, cocoa, cashew, tea, sugarcane, cotton, and spices. Food crops such as rice, wheat, and corn are also grown as cash crops to meet the global food demand.
The emphasis today is on cashew nut. Cashew nut is a high value cash crop and most cashew trees start bearing fruit in the third or fourth year. It is also raw material of multiple uses in developing drugs, antioxidants, fungicides, and biomaterials as well as in tropical folk medicine and for anti-termite treatment of timber.
Cashew tree is like every other tropical evergreen tree. Cashew tree produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. There are dwarf cashew trees and giant cashew trees though it can grow as high as 14 m.
According to healthline.com, the scientific name for cashew is Anacardium occidentale. It reports that cashews contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients, including fat but its fat is ‘good fat’ believed to help in preventing heart diseases and reduces the risk of stroke.
In city malls, there are different types cashew nuts including ones fresh and original, roasted and salted , dried, fried , laced with honey, hot and spice and whole lots. It is recommended that a healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately 15 cashew nuts.
Are there implications with the nuts? Yes! Research has it that the raw cashews contain urushiol, a resin that is toxic if ingested and can cause rashes or burns if it contacts the skin.
Have you seen a cashew tree before? What of the apples and the nuts? It has a buttery, sweet, salty taste, and an unmistakable shape. Cashews are one of the lowest fibre and highest carbohydrate nuts, but an excellent source of several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
In cashews, you can find vitamins E, K, and B-6, and minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium. These minerals and vitamins are so important for a variety of bodily functions. The more nuts you eat, the lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, as it reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
International organizations like the World Bank, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization abbreviated small and medium-sized enterprises or businesses to SME’s. They are businesses with small personnel, very manageable. These companies outnumber big firms an assist in employing vast numbers of people out of the labour market. They are entrepreneurial in nature, helps in shaping innovation in countries. Every country has its benchmark, but generally micro companies with up to 10 employees are in this threshold, to those small companies with 50 workers as well as medium companies with 250 and 500 workers.
SME’s are the heartbeat of emerging and developed economies, responsible for providing many jobs even contributing high percentage like 45% to total employment and 33% the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED).
SME has some other names in other climes like United States refer to them as small-to-mid-size businesses (SMBs), while in Kenya, it goes by MSME, meaning micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and India calls it MSMED, which stands for micro, small, and medium enterprise development.
In Nigeria, it is called SME’s. Nigeria is one of the largest economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa with crude oil as its major reliance, though other sectors contribute, Nigeria hosts a large small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
Research shows that the Central Bank of Nigeria had defined SMEs as enterprises which have an annual turnover not exceeding Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000), whereas, the National Policy on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) focused on employment and Assets. In the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) in Nigeria, SMEs register under Part B of the CAMA for a business name.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN came into existence to stimulate, monitor and coordinate the development of the MSMEs sub-sector. SMEDAN initiate and articulate policy ideas for small and medium enterprises growth and development as well as promote and facilitate development programmes, instruments and support services to accelerate the development and modernization of MSME operations. This if well done leads to economic growth, industrialization and job creation.
SMEDAN appears powering even as it has entered into partnership with Facebook and Google towards providing quality digital skills training for MSMEs in Nigeria in line with global practice in linking and bridging the communication gaps between MSMEs and the global market place.
The Director General and chief executive officer of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda in an interview with Daily Trust had said that the training programme was a topmost priority of the Agency considering the importance of information and communication technology ICT to the development of MSMEs worldwide adding Nigeria cannot be an exception.
Dr Radda said: “we have witnessed how small businesses are making their impact felt in the social media using Facebook ,instagram and even twitter, they huge make sales, this training will further build their capacity in making more inroads into the market”
Cashew History and development in Nigeria
Recall that cashew was introduced in Nigeria more than 400 years ago, but extensive cultivation started in the 1950s. As strange as it sounds, the first Nigerian cashew plantation dates back to 1954 with 800 hectares in the present Enugu State and 200 hectares in the western part of the country.
But From 1965 to 1990, cashew production was relatively static at 25,000 tonnes with estimated land area of 50,000 hectares in 1990. Despite the initial problems, cashew cultivation has spread to 27 states of the country, and in the past 12 years, production increased almost thirty-fold from 30,000mt to 836,500 tonnes from estimated land area of 366,000 hectares in 2012.
Remember that commodity market was liberalized in 1986, and many companies ventured into cashew processing. The question is has Nigeria recognised the potential economic value of cashew and was there any effort to improve the production of the crop?
Foraminifera Market Research, reports that the history of cashew in Nigeria dates back to the 15th century, as it was mainly used in afforestation schemes for the control of erosion in former Eastern Nigeria.
The commercial cashew plantations started in Nigeria in the early 1950s with the establishment of the first commercial plantations at Oghe, Oji and Mbala by the defunct Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) and Iwo, Eruwa and Upper Ogun by the defunct Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC). Edo state prodcues cashew too and even Gwanara district in Baruten local government area of kwara state.
From these locations, the planting of the crop started spreading to other parts of Nigeria particularly to the Central and Northern States of Nigeria.
Research on its production and its uses started at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan in 1971.
The introduction of Brazilian cashew biotype with improved and desirable nut and kernel quality characteristics by CRIN has further increased the crops spread and popularity in Nigeria.
The commodity of commercial importance is the nut, which contains 47 percent fat, 21 percent protein and 22 percent carbohydrate.
It also contains vitamins, especially thiamine. Its proteins are complete, having all the essential amino acids and a kilogramme of the nut yields about 6000 calories compared to 3600 calories from cereals, 1800 calories from meat and 650 calories from fresh citrus fruit.
Consumption of cashew and its nuts can greatly help in weight management, prevention of gall stones, bone development and prevention of bone diseases, reduction of heart diseases, and numerous health benefits.
Variety of products from cashew
Cashew apple and cashew nut is produced from cashew tree and has the botanical name of Anacardium occidentale.
It takes a cashew plant about 2-3 years to grow from seed, with the tree first developing a drupe, it later develops into a cashew apple from the small stalk bearing the drupe.
The fruit which is the cashew apple also bears a single seed known as the cashew nut. Unlike the cashew fruit which can be eaten when plucked, the nut can’t be eaten unless after being roasted, it contains a toxin which can only be destroyed by smoke or fire.
It’s a seasonal fruits in Nigeria and in other areas of cultivation, and a succulent one, though it is highly perishable, it is highly sought after in the Nigerian market. Its fleshy pulp and nuts can be eaten and it’s very nutritional as it a good source of protein and contains also selenium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and vitamin B6. Cashew can either be eaten as a fruit or processed into cashew butter and cheese and the cashew pulp can be distilled into liquor or even processed into fruit drink. The same way cashew shell can be used in a wide range of applications such as in paints and lubricants.
RMRDC and Money in cashew nut value chain?
In April 2018, the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Prof Ibrahim Hussaini Doko had an answer in the affirmative as he said that farmers, processors can make more money in cashew value chain.
He concurs that RMRDC is strengthening the cashew value chain as a valuable source of industrial raw materials to the Nigerian agro-economy.
Doko informed that the Federal Government initiated a Cashew Development Programme under the Tree Crop Development Programme. The programme was initiated in 2001 to rehabilitate and resuscitate moribund plantations, train extension staff and farmers, provide and distribute inputs such as seedlings, agro-chemicals, etc. Other objectives of the programme were to promote quality control at primary (farm) level and the strengthening of management information system in the cashew sector. Despite this, however, products of cashew tree (kernel and apple) are grossly underutilised for income generation. There is still a lot of wastages of the fresh apples on farms since a negligible portion is consumed by harvesters. Also, Nigeria produces a limited variety of cashew, consisting mainly of the yellow and red varieties. However, high yielding cashew varieties with low gestation period and bigger nuts have been introduced.
Research into Cashew nuts and fruits for juice
Doko said that the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) has the mandate to research into cashew development and that it has developed an improved variety of cashew called Brazillian Jumbo, with nuts maturing within one year in contrast to the local wild varieties which mature after five years. Currently in Nigeria, the major factors limiting cashew nut production are old age of most trees, deforestation, low yielding varieties, dominance of small holdings, dependence of most farmers on wild varieties, land acquisition problems, high cost of inputs, climatic conditions, disease, pest and fire outbreaks, high post-harvest losses, infrastructural constraints, as well as quality and market price of the product.
Constraints of cashew nut production
The major constraints of cashew nut production are marketing and processing of cashew fruits. Producers have called on the government to arrest increasing transportation of the nuts into neighbouring countries, such as Togo, Benin and Cameroon, from where they are exported to Europe and the United States (U.S).
Prices of cashew nuts in international market impact significantly on its productivity. Good market prices are strong incentives for farmers, but when prices are low, farmers are weary of investing in any input since they cannot judge the return they might expect to receive for the crop at the end of the growing season.
The activity of middlemen, which reduces the amount that gets to farmers, also reduces profitability of farmers. In the Nigerian market, uncertainty is a very serious problem which can seriously limit cashew production and marketing as cashew farmers are left at the mercy of the middlemen, whose activities usually make prices to be low and damaging.
How can Nigeria promote the cashew value chain?
One of the major ways of promoting development of the nation’s cashew output is through value addition. Cashew nuts are basic raw materials in the production of cashew nut butter. Further value addition to the kernels is possible by roasting and salting or sugar coating the nuts. It is estimated that 60per cent of cashew kernels are consumed in the form of snacks while the remaining 40per cent is used in the confectionery industry. Presently, only 6per cent cashew apples produced is exported as producers have only market for the nuts. The problem is heightened as the use of whole fruit is commercially difficult as the apple ripens prior to the nut. The quality of the nut detached from the green fruit is unacceptable for processing as cashew apples must be produced within 2 to 3 hours of picking as they undergo rapid deterioration when kept for a long time. This perishable nature also negatively influences development of processing options for cashew fruits.
Value chain of Cashew as raw material and production
The RMRDC has initiated maintained and sustained a cashew development programme aimed at developing the value chain locally. Some of the industrial potentials of cashew, which are being exploited by the council are Cashew Nut Shell Liquid, juice and roasted cashew nut. Cashew nut shell contains inedible Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), which consists of 15per cent of the gross weight while the nut contains Cashew Nut Kernel Oil (CNKO), which is sweet edible oil. The pressed kernel cake from CNKO extraction process is suitable for use in human and animal feeds. The CNSL contains high proportions of phenolic compounds, which are used in industries as raw materials for making vehicle brake lining compounds, water proofing agents, preservatives, manufacture of paints and plastics; type-writer rollers, oil and acid-proof cements and for making industrial floor tiles, etc.
Intervention by RMRDC and benefitting companies
In order to promote the sustainable supply of cashew to the processing plants, the council distributed 7,000 seedlings of improved cashew variety (Jumbo Cashew) to farms across the country during the 2015-2016 planting seasons. The project was handled by Abod Success Investment Limited. Some of the beneficiaries include: Alheri Agricultural Vine International Limited, Kaduna; Plant A Tree Today Initiative (PATTIN), Cadastral Zone, Apo, Abuja; African Foundation for Agricultural Development, Gudu District, Abuja; Christian Care for Widows, Widowers, the Aged and Orphans, Gwarinpa, Abuja; Danejo Farms Nigeria Limited, Babban Tunga, Niger State; National Cashew Association of Nigeria, Ilorin, Kwara State and Kogi State University, Anyigba, Kogi State and a host of others. The council, in collaboration with the Kogi State University, Anyigba, established a 1 tonne/day cashew nut processing plant for investment purposes.
RMRDC and Alliance with international association
The council is collaborating with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), which is an international association of African and international businessmen with interest in promoting globally competitive African cashew industry. Presently, nearly 130 member countries work under the ACA banner and represent all aspects of cashew value chain, including producers, processors, traders and international buyers. In 2017, we initiated collaboration with the Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Sciences for Southern Vietnam for transfer of technology on the grafting of cashew trees. The technology had been perfected and widely deployed in Vietnam. This has made Vietnam one of the competitive cashew producers globally. The major advantage of the technology is the possibility of grafting old trees for increased production and productivity without any need to cut them down. This initiative, if perfected locally as planned, will obviate the need to cut down old cashew trees locally, while at the same time increasing their productivity. As the old age of cashew is a major limiting factor influencing yield locally, the deployment of this technology will increase cashew production by more than 25per cent on annual basis.
History of processing plant in Nigeria
The cashew processing plant was fabricated and installed by a private consultant, Abod Success Investment Limited. The project was commissioned on October 14, 2010 and has since been producing cashew nuts on commercial basis. Likewise, the council collaborated with the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) to upgrade the cashew nut processing facility in the university. One tonne/day cashew nut processing plant was fabricated and installed by the council’s cashew consultant, Abod Success Investment Limited at the university.
After a successful test-run and training of workers, the facility was commissioned on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The plant has since commenced commercial production of cashew nuts. The council has also collaborated with Isowopo Cashew Farmers and Sellers Association for the establishment of one tonne/day cashew nut processing plant at Ikakumo, Ondo State.
Furthermore, the council commissioned Abod Success Investment Limited to design, fabricate and install one tonne/day cashew nut processing plant at WEHSAC Farms Limited, Oke-Ogun, Oyo State. The council also commissioned Abod success Investment Limited to design, fabricate and install CNSL extraction plants at the Kogi State University, Anyigba and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
The extraction plants have been installed. To promote further value addition, Abod success was commissioned to design and fabricate cashew juice processing plants for the council. The plants would be deployed to the universities in Anyigba and Abeokuta for investment purposes.
Cashew glut and Nigeria Cashew Farmers loss of N99 Billion
Cashew nut farmers in the country lost approximately N99 billion since the commencement of production this year. The farmers produce about 220,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts yearly. In 2017 and 2018, a tonne was bought from them at the rate of N600,000. This year however, the cost plummeted to N150,000 per tonne. The figure implies that they lose N450,000 on every tonne sold. Multiplied by 220,000 metric tonnes, the farmers are set back by a staggering N90 billion.
The downward slope of the price curve will have negative impact on investments in cashew cultivation and plantations. Thousands of jobs might be lost, besides the dire financial implications for the farmers and the country. The socio-economic implications include increased poverty among farmers until the price appreciates; low return on investments for plantation investors; job losses in the value chains (from cultivation, aggregation, export and processing).
Investigation from media reports revealed that gridlocks in Apapa prevent containers of raw materials, including agricultural products, from leaving the port for various destinations in Europe, Asia and America, contributing significantly to low demand for the nuts. Two major ways the gridlocks affect products are: deterioration through re-absorption of moisture and inability of exporters to meet deadlines.
“One of the major reasons is that the road leading to our port is bad. The trailers take several weeks before they can get to the port. Most of exporters take short-term loans from the bank and are not able to meet up with either supply or repayment of loans,” said Dr Akin Oloniruha, a cashew breeding and plantation specialist at the Ahmadu Bello University College of Agriculture, Kabba, Kogi State.
“Last year, a tonne was N600,000. This year, it is about N130,000. This has a negative effect on farm expansion and tonnage to be produced in the future because many farmers would not plant cashew this year,” he explained. Stating another reason for the low demand and poor pricing, Oloniruha said farmers, either as a result of greed or lack of regulations, mix immature nuts with good ones, creating aversion for Nigeria’s stock in the international market.
The solution, he said, is for Nigeria to develop the capacity to process nuts locally. According to news reports in Nigerian media quoting him, “This will reduce our exportation of raw materials and exposure of farmers to price fluctuations. “A major cashew nut aggregator in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Mr. Isaac Alade, affirmed that the price per tonne of the nuts is between N130,000 and N150,000.
Some analysts however noted that the downturn could also be blamed on shrinking global demands and inability of exporters to meet up with orders from Vietnam, a major buyer of Nigerian nuts, and other countries. It was reported that an expatriate director in one of the agro-allied conglomerates in Nigeria, who preferred anonymity, explained that processors in India and Vietnam who import cashew nuts from Africa were not given loans this year because they have not been able to offset the facilities for 2018.
“They have not repaid the loans they collected last year to the banks. So, the Vietnam banks are not giving additional loans to the importers who buy from Nigeria. Now that processors from especially Vietnam are not purchasing nuts from Africa, there is a big gap. That is the main cause,” he said.
Corroborating this point, a cashew nuts processor and managing director of Abod Success Ltd, based at Ogijo, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Mr. Tunde Odunuga, said over 90 per cent of Vietnam buyers could not buy from Africa this year because of their indebtedness to banks.
Death for cashew nuts
February last year, a 17 year old Ugochukwu Oduburu, a student of GTC Akama in Ezeagu Local Government Area, was shot and killed by a security man over alleged cashew nut theft. Ugochukwu had allegedly gone to pick cashew nuts when the security man attached to the cashew industry at Akama allegedly shot him to death.
Ebere Amaraizu, Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, confirming the incident in a statement issued to journalists in the state.
“The deceased, a part-time cashew nuts picker, was staying with his brother in the area and that he had gone to pick cashew nuts on that fateful day “when suddenly he was shot and killed by the suspect later identified as one Vitalis Ilo. The suspect allegedly used a single barrel locally made gun to shoot the deceased.”
Waste of cashew nuts and fruits, delay in export
Nigeria currently wastes an estimated 8 million tonnes of cashew fruits annually, according to Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria. He said the long term solution to the delay in export and stocking of cashew nuts at the ports is for Nigeria to be an exporter of finished products and not raw materials. The challenge facing Nigeria is that we have been an importer nation which has destroyed our economy.
“We want to change now and become a nation of exporters.
“We have to find unorthodox ways of finding capital for those who want to grow these industries because, on their own, it is impossible for them to meet the conditions of banks and financial institutions.
“It is impossible for them to raise the necessary capital which is why the CBN initiatives are very important to us and we have been working with them and we are achieving results.
“The treasury of Nigeria including the CBN has to find a way to by-pass the obstacles, the mountains, the rivers, blocking our way to industrial growth.
“If not, we will remain perpetually poor and we will remain permanently incapable of creating wealth and creating jobs for our people,’’ he said.
Any hope for Nigeria’s cashew export
Nigeria lost several billions of dollars in 2016 from lack of export of cashew nuts. National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN)’s data showed that Nigeria exported a total of 160,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew valued at $300 million in 2016. Unfortunately, this is far below expectations on what local cashew farmers and exporters could have earned if there are processing factories to process cashew nuts for export.
There was an estimate that Nigeria was set to supply 130,000 tonnes of roasted cashew nuts valued at $7 billion to Walmart Super Market chain in the United States of America as confirmed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe. He said the US firm came to Nigeria to request for 130,000 tonnes of roasted cashew nuts and their demand is 130,000 tonnes of cashew nuts per annum, with a total value of $7 billion.
The Minister announced that, “we are in conversations with Walmart, the biggest supermarket chain in the US. They came here and asked us to roast cashew nuts for them. What Nigeria currently does is ship the nuts to Vietnam, which in turn roasts and sell to the US. This year, we are going to create six cashew processing factories in Nigeria, each to be cited in Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo states. These are the cashew belts for now. These options are coming now because Nigeria is beginning to focus on non-oil export.”
A tonne of processed cashew nuts for export is sold for $10,000 while the raw cashew nuts are sold at $1,200 at the international market. Cashew nuts farming provide livelihood for over 300,000 families and has created 600,000 jobs in the country.
The question is can Nigeria meet the Walmart’s demand when allegedly over 30 per cent of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria every year are smuggled across the border due to better price discrepancy in cashew in the global market from countries like Benin Republic.
Former President of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Mr. Tola Faseru, had insisted that if government was that committed, it would be able to meet the demand of Walmart, which means government is ready to do a lot more across the value chain. For government to earn the $7 billion, he said there was need to increase production of cashew, improve its quality in terms of processing, adding that value addition has to be supported.
He added: “It is expected that in order to meet all of these, the farmers need to be supported, funding has to be made available, infrastructure and a whole lot of things have to be put in place because now you are committing yourself to giving so much quantity, which is final product. That means the whole value chain has to be retooled for us to be able to make this happen.
Chief Executive Officer, Universal Quest Limited, Mr. Anga Sotonye, explained: “This is a challenge on Nigeria. This demand has brought upon us a big economic challenge. To be able to meet up that order, we will have to significantly increase our cashew production, which starts with the farm. We need to increase the areas we will put under cashew cultivation nationwide because $7 billion is not N7 million; it’s a whole lot of money.
“We don’t have that volume of cashew because we have not produced that volume of cashew on a national basis; we don’t have it. So we would not be able to fulfil that order. To fulfil it, we will have to deliberately grow more cashews, we have to put our farmers to work again, we have to get our land and grow more cashews, so that we would be able to supply and meet this demand. And what that means is that we would be able to meet this demand, we would be able to create more jobs for our people, earn more foreign exchange and we would be able to build the cashew industry better because all of this is about foreign exchange, we would be bringing much needed dollars into the country.”
He said there was need to add value to cashew nuts and then make available processed cashew nuts to Walmart, which he said starts with farm, increased production and improvement on the nation’s process capacity.
Ogbomoso cashew plantations
The Chief Executive, Hastom Nigeria, Ogbomosho, Mr. Debo Thomas, said there was no alternative to increasing productivity of cashew fruits.
He noted that if growers are able to increase productivity and investors can establish processing factories, Nigeria could regain high production levels.
He is optimistic that there is room to further develop the industry, and have cottage industries processing cashew apple juice through collective efforts.
His vision is to transform Ogbomoso’s cashew sector into a significant foreign exchange earner creating jobs and substantial wealth for Nigerians.
Debo has a vision to transform Ogbomosho’s cashew sector into significant foreign exchange earner for more jobs and wealth to be created even as his organisation is working hard to support the industry to achieve yearly productivity of 500,000 raw cashew nuts yearly.
He cultivates 600 hectares of cashew in Ogbomoso and he plans to plant 500 new trees after which he embarks on cultivation of another 1000 hectares. He is therefore converting every available farm land in the town into cashew plantation.
He advocate that the country should be using small cashew processing model units that can process between 1,000 and 5,000 tonnes of cashew nuts more efficiently, instead of using major processing units, as was the practice about 15 years ago.
He is building a processing factory targeted to process 11,000 tonnes of nuts yearly. He is building warehouses, where cashew nuts will be aggregated in sacks for processing. He said his organisation intends to focus on cashew processing to boost the performances of the sector and related exports.
According to him about 80 per cent of the 300,000 hectares of cashews are old and the seed varieties needs to be improved. He added that Agricultural promotion policies, including policies on application of new varieties and advanced farming practices, are very important for better cashew yields.