An economically important fruit crop, cashew consist of large, pear-shaped, fleshly fruit and small kidney-shaped seed (nut) attached to one end. Both the fleshly fruit and the nut are the edible and has considerable commercial value.
The flesh portion of the fruit is eaten as dessert and also used in wine, alcohol and vinegar manufacture. Cashew nut is eaten when roasted and used in the preparation of cakes, pastries ice cream, candies and chocolates. The nut of the shell is used as a woodcarving preservative against white ants, while the gum is also an important ingredients in the manufacture of varnish. The kernel is a source of oil.
Although very useful, cashew is not widely planted in the Philippines. In 1985, from a total of 7,130 hectares of land planted to cashew we produced P18,947,000. Southern Tagalog and Ilocos regions are the two largest producing areas.
The fruit is classified into three types. The first type consist of big apples and small nuts; the second, has small apples and big nuts; and the third type has big apples and big nuts.
Cashew grow best in places with distinct wet and dry seasons. When choosing the type of soil, examined if it is well-drained (from marginal clay to sandy to alluvial soil). They can be planted at 1,500 feet (457.2 meters) above sea level.
Cashew can be propagated by seeds and asexual means like marcotting, layering, budding and grafting.
Culture and management. If you are going to use seeds, raise them first in a nursery. They will germinate in about 12 to 20 days. When the seeding are 20 to 50 centimeters (cm) high transplant them in the field at the of the rainy season.
Before planting, Plow and harrow the field. Dig out holes
a month before transplanting. Stakes should also be laid out. A one-hectare field will need about 123 to 227 seedlings. Plant the seedlings 6 to 9 meters apart.
Ring weeding and cultivation during the early stage of growth are important. During this time, bananas and papayas may be intercrop with cashew.
At planting apply 20 to 50 grams per plant of complete fertilizer or nitrogenous fertilizer. When the plant reaches it bearing stage, apply 900 to 1,300 kilograms (kg) per hectare. Apply fertilizer around but away from the based of the plant.
Controlling pest and diseases. a number of insect pests attack cashew. They include corn silk weevil, chrysomelid beetle, tussock moth caterpillars, twig borers, Indian meal moth, rice weevil and saw-toothed grain beetle. They can be controlled by spraying the trees with Dieldrin, Aldrin, Endrin, DDT and Parathion. After harvesting, the nuts should be thoroughly dried and placed in air-tight containers.
Cashew is also afflicted by pink disease. To control this, spray with one tablespoon of Dithane Z-76 per gallon of water.
Harvesting. Begin harvesting when the fruit becomes cream yellow or cream yellow with red (depending on the variety) and when the nuts are already hard and light brown in color. Cashew’s bearing age is about 3 to 4 years. It bears fruit from February to June. An Approximate yield of 5 metric tons of nuts and 821,000 fruits (3,000 fruits per tree) can be obtained per hectare.