Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) belong to the family Anacardiacea. It was originally introduced into India by the Portuguese during the 16th century. The cashew kernels are used in confectionery and dessert. The shells contain a high quality oil known as cashewnut shell liquid (CNSL) which has got wide industrial uses. Cashew apple is eaten fresh or mixed in fruit salads and a drink is prepared from the juice. Cashew can be distilled to produce alcoholic drink (Fenny).
Cashew is essentially a tropical crop, grows best in the warm, moist and typically tropical climate. The distribution of cashew is restricted to altitudes below 700 m where the temperature does not fall below 200˚C for prolonged periods, although it may be found growing at elevation up to 1200 m. It is best adopted to the coastal regions. The cashew is hardy and drought resistant, but it is damaged by frost.
Cashew is grown in areas with rainfall ranging from 600 – 4500 mm per annum. Fruit setting in cashew will be good if rains are not abundant during flowering and nuts mature in a dry period.