Value Chain Development in India’s Cashew Industry

The Acceso Cashew Enterprise is improving market efficiency and farming practices in the Ratnagiri district of India’s Maharashtra state.

India is the largest raw cashew nut producing country in the world, but continues to lag behind major competitors in the global cashew market, both in terms of quality and yield. This indicates significant opportunities for impactful intervention. By addressing inefficiencies in the cashew value chain as well as poor farming practices in the field, significant social impacts can be achieved, sustainably boosting agricultural productivity and the incomes of smallholder cashew farmers.

To this end, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) – in partnership with TechnoServe – formed Acceso Cashew Enterprise Private Limited (ACE), a private limited company in India in late 2013. To achieve both the project’s business and social impact goals, ACE initiated a comprehensive agriculture program to substantially impact and improve cashew yields and farmer incomes through agronomical training and strengthening market linkages. In 2014, more than 1,000 farmers participated in the program, with some 500 registered to date in 2015, and initial results are promising.

Aatmaram Yashvant Agre is a small farmer in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. His 3-acre farm has approximately 300 cashew trees, and before participating in TechnoServe’s training, he did little to improve his productivity beyond weeding, and he systematically threw away the cashew apples produced by his trees, simply because he had no market for them.

After participating in the Acceso Cashew Project, Aatmaram applied the practices he learned through the program, such as cleaning his fields, sorting and grading his harvest, and nutrient management techniques. He expects yield increases of 30 percent. Additionally, because the project has created demand for cashew apples, Aatmaram sold 550 pounds of this product in a first-year pilot. Based on this success, he expects to sell even more next year, giving him an additional source of income.

Based in the largest cashew nut producing district, Ratnagiri, of the largest cashew nut producing state, Maharashtra, in India, the Acceso Cashew Project is providing an encouraging model for the adoption of cashew nut value chain intervention.