Govt urged to explore full potential of cashew

  • 9 November 2023
  • Source/s: Malaya

The government should explore the potential of cashew fruits to improve farmers' incomes, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said.

SEARCA in a study funded by the Department of Agriculture's (DA) Bureau of Agricultural Research, said cashew apple's flesh is currently underutilized even if it constitutes 90 percent of the fruit.

SEARCA said this is because focus has only been given to cashew nuts, particularly in Palawan which is the country's leading producer of the crop.

The study titled Technology and Investment Profile of Cashew Products said by-products like wine, prunes, jelly, jam and salted cashew nuts can maximize use of the cashew fruit through various technologies.

It also found that Palawan's cashew farmers have struggled with low returns on their investments, mainly because of the underutilization of the cashew apple's flesh due to the lack of awareness about its processing potential.

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said to address such challenge, the Western Philippines University as well as DA attached agencies such as the Bureau of Agricultural Research and the Palawan Research and Experiment Station (PRES), initiated product development of more products using both cashew nuts and cashew apples.

"Cashew apple, once undervalued, has gained economic value surpassing four times that of cashew nuts," Gregorio said.

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country produced a total of 123,760.66 metric tons (MT) of cashew in 2022, down by 51.6 percent from 2021's 255,931.01 MT.

Palawan supplied 117,836.32 or 95.2 percent of the total cashew produced in 2022. The province also provided 250,126.46 MT of cashews in 2021 or 97.7 percent of all cashews produced by the Philippines for the period.