1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Cashew, known as Anacardium occidental is a native of Brazil and was introduced to Mozambique and then India in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese, as a means of controlling coastal erosion. It was spread within these countries with the aid of elephants that ate the bright cashew fruits along with the attached nut. The nut was too hard to digest and was later expelled with the droppings. It was not until the nineteenth century that plantations were developed and the tree then spread to a number of other countries in africa, Asia and Latin America.(Herringtton and coulter,2004).
Cashew processing using manual techniques, was started in India in the first half of the twentieth century. It was exported from there to the wealthy western markets, particularly the United States. In the 1960s some of the producing countries in East Africa began to process nuts domestically rather than sending them to India for processing. This allowed them to benefit from the sale of both processed nuts and the extracted cashew nut shell liquid. Cashew kernels are ranked as either the second or third most expensive nut trade in the United States.
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