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Philippines Eyes Cashew as Potential Export Commodity Crop
POSTED: 1:46 p.m. EDT, February 9,2007

There is money in cashew production.

This was according to Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-B Acting Regional Executive Director Roberto Masbang, who spoke before more than 100 participants in the one-day Cashew Investment Forum themed Cashing in on Cashew held at the Legend Hotel in this city last Wednesday.

Masbang told participants composed of DA officials, farmers and business sector in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa), that cashew is a leading nut crop in the country and anticipated to generate income and create employment for the country as well for Filipinos in general.

He said, it is a potential export commodity crop in the country.

Masbang noted theres a great demand for cashew nuts in the foreign market, adding that it is the second most important nut crop in the world after almond.

It is a potential investment opportunity for agribusiness and other stakeholders and some provinces in the country are emerging to popularize emerging cashew production, he pointed out.

There's a steadily growing demand for wholesale food items from the world market for processed and industrially manufactured cashew based products, he added.

Masbang said that raw nut requirements are supplied by Vietnam, India and Brazil whereas processed nuts come from U.S, Vietnam and Australia.

Total worldwide demand of cashew kernel annually is 200,000 metric tons, he said.

In Mimaropa, 24,345 hectares with 106,256 metric tons production or 99.90 percent can be found in Palawan while Occidental Mindoro has 47 hectares with 97 metric tons production or 0.10 percent.

Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Nelson Salvador said that a total of 210,993 hectares are underdeveloped and potential cashew plantation.

Masbang further said that the DA policy is to expand the advocacy campaign to increase cashew production and improve the productivity and profitability of cashew farmers.

The DA official also asserted they will enhance the knowledge of cashew of farmers on good agricultural practices and improve packaging and labeling of cashew products.

In the forum, the officials tried to find solution to the problems that are being encountered by farmers in the propagation of cashew.

These are lack of quality planting materials, absence of reliable data on the production such as area planted and number of trees, seasonality of cashew, pests and diseases particularly termites and antharacnose, low quality of processed products and packaging materials used, inefficient marketing system and long payback period for cashew.

They also discussed DAs interventions such as improving production, processing and marketing, market promotion and support services through active participation of local government units and extension services linkages among government agencies and non-government organizations.

Masbang cited that Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap's policy direction is toward more farm-to-market roads, market profitability, post-harvest and irrigation facilities improvement and establishment of market training pool.

He urged farmers in the country to plant cashew, because it has many by-products that could help farmers generate income.

He stressed cashew is a promising tree and truly a gold nut.

Cashew trees, according to Masbang, are suitable for reforestation due to its ability to survive even on poor soils.

Cashew apples can be eaten fresh when ripe and its pulp is utilized and processed into prunes, jams, atchara, fruit sauce, candies and meat extender for longganisa and meatballs. The juice of the apples can be further processed into wine, vinegar and jelly.

The cashew nut shell liquid is used to make paints, resins, varnish, cold setting cement, anti-corrosion treatment, brake-lining, clutch facing, and magneto armature for airplane. It can likewise be used as cure for warts.

The leaves and bark, on the other hand, can cure toothache, sore throat and gums, burns, diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhoids.

The cashew shell is a good source of fuel.

Meanwhile, favorite cashew delicacies are pulvoron, barquillos, brittle, fruit cake, tarts and pastillas de kasoy.

Businessmen selling cashew-based products said fried and roasted cashew nuts and other products made of cashew are still favorite pasalubong items for visitors to their friends and families.

If Davao is known for its durian fruit, Guimaras for its sweet mango and Camiguin for its lanzones, Palawan is very proud of its cashew nuts.

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