Where do Cashew nuts come from?

Learn About Where the Cashew Comes From

The Cashew is native to Brazil, in the area between the Atlantic rain forest and the Amazon rainforest. The vegetation type of the region is dry forest, savannah woodland or thorn scrub, and includes the almost desert-like Caatinga. Cashew is sometimes referred to as a rainforest species and the nuts are found in products that have a rainforest friendly label or connotation. Although the trees will grow in tropical wet forests, they produce few nuts, and production is much greater in areas with a distinct wet and dry season, such as its native range in Brazil, India and East and West Africa.

The Portuguese brought the cashew to India and east Africa in the 16th century, after it was discovered in 1578. The Portuguese planted cashews in India initially to reduce erosion not for fruit production. Uses for the nut and pseudofruit, the cashew apple, weren’t developed until much later. The trees were well adapted to the region, and became naturalized. Trees also became naturalized in Central America, East and West Africaand the Caribbean islands.

The graph shows where cashews are produced in the world by country

Origin 2004 (MT ’000) 2005 (MT ’000)
Brazil 265 245
Kenya, Madagascar 10 10
Mozambique 60 70
Tanzania 80 85
Indonesia 85 115
India 350 360
Vietnam 300 300
Benin, Nigeria 94 100
Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso 186 205
Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal 110 120
World Production Total 1540 1610