Nigerians are fond of not doing research especially when it comes to things they don’t really consume. An example of that is cashew; people tend not to know more about it because it is not a day to day food.
Cashew is a global crop and Nigeria is one of the largest producers of it in the world. It is grown in 19 states across Nigeria and Kwara is one of them. Cashew is not an annual crop because it has a gestation period of approximately 3 years depending on the species. Cashew is tropical, very frost sensitive and the trees grow in a wide spectrum of climatic regions. It can withstand high temperature and a yearly rainfall of 1100mm is regarded as optimal. A cashew tree has a well-developed root system that can withstand drought conditions. It takes only 4 days for the nut to germinate when lying on wet soil. It can germinate on sandy soil and other soil that is generally unsuitable for other fruits.
Cashew fruits appear in different colors ranging from yellow to red and are a good source of different types of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that promote human wellbeing. It is a source of Vitamin C, it boost the immune system, offers anti-oxidants for the body, promote healthy bones, lower the risk of diabetes, lowers high blood pressure, prevent cancer, help in weight loss, promote healthy heart and eyes, promote healthy hair and skin, prevent anemia and improves fertility amongst others.
Other useful products that can be gotten from cashew are nuts, milk, and tree. The tree can last more than 20 years which means it is a source of afforestation and to add to that, cashew help mitigates tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Cashew nut is healthy and can be used to replace junk food that people consume in the name of snacking because it is a good source of dietary fiber. Cashew nuts shell liquid is also used in the production of lubricating oil for machinery, it is used for the treatment of timbers against termites and it also serves as a processing aid for the industrial production of plastic materials. Cashew milk has little or no cholesterol and anticancer effects thereby can easily replace whole fat milk that a whole lot of people consume.
Cashew is one of the commodities that are being traded around the world; in 2019 it contributed about $6billion to the world economy with the global demand of approximately 5 million tons. The global demand of cashew nuts has always exceeded the supply and Nigeria currently produces about 10% of global cashew nut demand. The effect of all these is that it is a market that help reduce the number of unemployed individuals because at every stage, from the growth, processing to the marketing stages, there is a need for manpower.