Cashew business in Kollam

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The Cashew business in Kollam is based in the eponymous city, which is known as the Cashew Capital of the World[1]. Kollam is the largest processed cashew exporter in the world. As of 2011 there were more than 600 cashew processing units in the city. About 800,000 tonnes of raw cashews are imported to the city for processing every year.[2] 80% of India's export quality cashew kernels are prepared in Kollam.[3][4] Kollam remained as the cashew capital of the world for decades since 1930s.

Nila Cashew packets displayed in a Supermarket at Paravur near Kollam



Cashews were first brought to India by the Portuguese (but is from Northeastern South American or Brazilian coast of native tupi territory in the origin - Neotropic Divergent Evolutive Zone), who planted them along the coasts of Goa to prevent erosion.[5] Originally exported in oil cans, it was found that this method could lead to weevil infestation and it was replaced by storing the kernels in cans infused with carbon dioxide. This method, known as "Vita Packing", is still in use today.[6]

The health benefits and value of cashew nut were discovered much later. The trees adapted very well to their new home, especially in Kerala and by the late 16th century cashew nuts had reached Kollam, then known as Quilon, a city under the control of the Portuguese.

During the time of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in the Indian subcontinent, Quilon and its old port were major business hubs for Arabian and Chinese traders. Many of the cashew businesses in Kollam are family owned and run.[7]

Cashew exports[edit]

India is the largest exporter of cashew kernels and cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL). Foreign exchange earned by the country through the export of cashew kernels during 2011-12 reached Rs.4,390 crore based on statistics from the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI). 131,000 tonnes of kernels were exported during 2011-12. 90% of these export quality cashew kernels are prepared in Kollam.[8] CEPCI and the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation Limited work in Kollam city to promote exports of cashew kernels and cashew nut shell liquid from India. They also protect the interest of workers and attempt to provide maximum employment to the industry's workers and give them statutory benefits such as minimum wages and bonuses.[9][10][11]

The industry provides a livelihood for about 600–700 thousand employees and farmers. In Kollam district alone there are more than 250,000 employees directly involved in the industry, which is about 10 per cent of the population of the district. 95 per cent of these workers are women.[12] There are more than 600 cashew processing units in Kollam with about 800,000 tonnes of raw cashews imported annually to the city for processing.[13] An average of 130,000 tonnes of processed cashews are exported to various countries worldwide every year.[14] As a result, Kollam is known as the "Cashew Capital of the World".[15] CEPCI is expecting a rise in exports to 275,000 tonnes by 2020, growth of 120 per cent over present exports.[16]

Largest importers of cashew kernels from Kollam[edit]

Country Exported Quantity Value Year
USA 47,611 tonnes Rs.1,470.47 Crore 2011-12
UAE 14,173 tonnes Rs.606.11 Crore 2011-12
Netherlands 11,517 tonnes Rs.365.57 Crore 2011-12
Japan -- Rs.237.45 Crore 2011-12
Saudi Arabia -- Rs.207.01 Crore 2011-12

CEPCI registered cashew exporters[edit]


  1. ^ "Kollam no more cashew capital". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  2. ^ Kollam, Ashtamudi Lake - great alternatives to Kochi, Vembanad Lake
  3. ^ "Kerala's cashew industry survives on foreign nuts". commodityonline. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Cashew sector in a tailspin". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  5. ^ K. P. Prabhakaran Nair (2010). The Agronomy and Economy of Important Tree Crops of the Developing World. Elsevier. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-12-384678-5.
  6. ^ T. Pradeepkumar (2008). Management of Horticultural Crops. New India Publishing. p. 499. ISBN 978-81-89422-49-3.
  7. ^ "Cashew Nut - Nature's Vitamin Pill". Dulce Rodrigues. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CEPCI
  10. ^ [2] CEPCI - BS
  11. ^ "Mechanisation can save cashew business, say experts". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Online Customs Clearance Facility for Kollam Port to be ready in a month
  14. ^ [4] Rise in earnings from cashew kernel exports – The Hindu
  15. ^ Kollam, Ashtamudi Lake – great alternatives to Kochi, Vembanad Lake
  16. ^ [5] CEPCI – Kollam
  17. ^ "Expoters Directory - Cashew Exports Promotion Council of India". Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.