Cashew is a perennial tree crop, originating from South America, and now widely grown in the tropics. Optimum cashew nut production is obtained in areas between 0 and 800 m altitude, with a temperature of 24° to 28o C, and an annual rainfall of 800 to 1,600 mm with a pronounced dry period of 5 - 7 months, and soil pH ranging from 4.5 to 6.5.
Cashew is a multipurpose tree crop, from which almost all parts (roots, stem, bark, leaves, apples and nuts) are used. The nut is considered one of the most valuable products in Uganda and the world at large.
Cashew nuts are common appetizers, like peanuts and pistachio nuts. They are also used in the food industry, and as an ingredient in various confectionery products. The cashew nut kernels have good nutritional values to human beings. They are a rich source of vitamins (A, D and E), fats (46.5 %) and proteins (17.8 %).
Besides, they contain relatively important amounts of minerals like calcium (504.0 mg/kg), iron 90.8 mg/kg), zinc (31.3 mg/kg), copper (16.4 mg/kg), potassium (5600 mg/kg), phosphorus (4600 mg/kg), magnesium (2400 mg/kg) and sodium (22.8 mg/kg) all measured in dry weight.
However, the nutrient composition in cashew nut kernels varies with cultivar and environment. Due to its high nutritional value, even small and broken pieces of cashew nut kernels find a market in confectionery products.
Almost all varieties of A. occidentale produce sweet juicy apples, with high soluble sugar (fructose and sucrose) content, which are consumed as fresh fruits; or used to make various apples products, such as juice and wine.