Cashews are one of the most loved nuts in the world. Cashew nuts originated in Brazil, and since then, it has been cultivated all over the world. It is obtained from the fruits of cashew trees, which are called cashew apples. However, the lower part of these cashew apples contains our beloved cashew kernels.
If you want to know how our favourite nuts reach our table, this blog will tell you the entire “farm to table” process of cashew nuts.
Cashew Cultivation Process
The necessary steps and processes in producing cashew nuts are mentioned below.
Cashews grow best in deep loamy or sandy soil, and they can adapt to different soil conditions without compromising the quality of production. It only requires soil with proper drainage, and less water retention as higher water can damage the cashew plant.
Climatic Conditions For Cashew
Cashew thrives best in temperatures between 20 to 30 degrees celsius. Therefore, the leading climate requirement for its production is dry weather with an approx duration of 4 months. In contrast, high rainfall could result in damaging the nuts, especially during blooming.
Preparation Of Land
The cashew field needs good ploughing for proper aeration and moisture retention. The ploughing should take place during the months between April to June. There should be multiple ploughings for reaching a suitable tilth stage before planting. And to accomplish this task, we can utilise the Mahindra 585 or any other powerful tractor.
What Should Be The Layout For The Plantation Of Cashew Tree?
The cashew trees should be planted in a square pattern. The distance between each plant should be 7 to 9 metres. The standard spacing between cashews is 8 m x 8 m which means there will be 156 trees per hectare.
Cashew seedlings are mainly grown in the shade. Therefore, the young plants are fragile, and they should be provided with some type of support so that heavy winds will not destroy them. Moreover, cashew plants need some mulching for moisture balance. However, mulching does not improve the health of the soil, but it ensures that there is no kind of soil-borne pests or insects.
Fertilizer Broadcasting And Crop Protection
There are some specific points that should be kept in mind before administering fertilizers, such as the land should be moist, and it should be applied during May and June and again just after the monsoon season.
The cashew plant is prone to various kinds of diseases also. More than 30 insects or pests are the predators of cashew plants. Usually, without proper care, there will be a white floury covering on the cashew plant, which is known as powdery mildew, and a kind of fungus causes it. So, it is essential for us to properly spray pesticides and crop protection chemicals. This can be done with the help of an efficient sprayer that is attached to Massey dynatrack or some other tractor.
Proper Irrigation For Cashew
Irrigation is one of the crucial steps in the growth of young cashew plants, as the rate of growth doubles in the dry season. However, a mature cashew tree requires an average of 1800 litres of water every two weeks.
Pollination And Harvesting Of Cashewnut
The duration of flowering generally lasts for about 3 months. The rate of flowering is directly proportional to temperature. Therefore, when the temperature rises, the flowers begin to bloom early.
The fruit preparation in cashew plants is dependent on pollination. The nuts are developed first, and fruit emerges later, before 2 weeks of fruit fall. For best results, the nuts should be harvested under wet conditions.
The cashew nuts are mainly harvested from February to May. Moreover, the seed-bearing in cashew plants starts around 3 years after the plantation of seedlings. Usually, cashew nuts are harvested after the natural fall of cashew apples. But if the apples are used for jam or juice, it has to be plucked before the fall, and the seeds need to be dried in the sun.
Packaging And Processing Of Cashew
After harvesting, cashew is divided and graded according to broken or whole kernels. Then, the kernels have to undergo six crucial processes: initial cleaning, roasting, shelling, separation, drying and peeling.
After completing the above processes, our favourite nuts are now packed and ready to be sold in the markets.
So, this was the journey of cashew nuts from the farm to our tables to become a part of rich delicacies. And the farmers should be appreciated, as it is only possible because of them that we are enjoying the taste of these excellent nuts.
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