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Cashew Nuts

India boasts some of the world's finest cashew nuts, renowned for their rich, buttery flavour and creamy texture. Grown primarily along the country's western and southern coasts, these "ivory kernels" are the edible seeds of the cashew apple. Interestingly, the cashew nut itself grows outside the fruit, encased in a hard shell that requires careful processing to remove a caustic liquid before reaching its delicious form.

India reigns supreme as the world's largest cashew nut exporter, boasting over 15% of the global export market share. This thriving industry plays a significant role in the Indian economy, employing लाख (lakh) - a hundred thousand - of people across rural farms and processing facilities.

The story of Indian cashews begins along the sun-drenched coastlines. Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra are the key cashew-producing states, where the cashew fruit ripens under the warm Indian sun. Once harvested, the cashew nut undergoes a meticulous processing journey before reaching international shores.

The cashew nut itself is technically the seed of the cashew apple, a delicious fruit enjoyed in India. However, the export focus lies on the cashew kernel, the creamy white nut nestled inside a hard shell. The processing involves separating the shell from the cashew kernel, a delicate task often employing skilled manual labor. The raw cashew nut shells contain a potent liquid called Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), a valuable byproduct used in various industrial applications.

After shelling, the cashew kernels are meticulously graded. Different grades are based on factors like size, wholeness, and color. This grading system ensures consistent quality for international buyers. The graded kernels then undergo a crucial process of roasting and salting, transforming them into the delightful cashews we know and love.

India caters to a diverse international clientele, exporting cashews to over 60 countries worldwide. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands as the top importer, followed closely by Japan, the Netherlands, and other prominent players like the USA, Canada, and Europe. This widespread reach is a testament to the exceptional quality and competitive pricing of Indian cashews.

The Indian government actively supports the cashew industry through the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). APEDA provides crucial support to exporters in areas like quality control, market access, and participation in international trade fairs. This government backing fosters a strong export ecosystem, ensuring Indian cashews continue to delight global consumers.

Looking ahead, the Indian cashew industry is poised for continued growth. Rising global demand for healthy snacks and a growing appreciation for premium nuts bode well for Indian exports. With its focus on quality, innovation, and sustainable practices, India is well-positioned to maintain its leadership role in the global cashew market.

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