Cashew nut consumption has taken a major hit due to lower than estimated buying from West Asia and China. While the Western market has been consuming lower than the normal level for the past three years due to economic compulsions, the lower demand from South East Asia and West Asia has been surprising.
Cashew lost significant market share in 2011 due to high prices and reduced availability. Prices of W 320 grade touched $4.50 per pound in 2011 but have declined to $3.20-3.30. Consumption of snack nuts actually fell by 11% in US during 2011 as against the annual growth of 2-3 %.
Import of raw cashew nuts during the period is seen higher by 8.5% at 348,395 tonne.
India has to import more than half of its requirement of raw cashew due to the poor productivity of its cashew plantations. Indian productivity is lower by three to four times the productivity achieved by Vietnam. Indian supply of cashew during 2012-13 is estimated around 135,000 tonne as against 150,000 tonne during 2011-12.
India exported 131,760 tonne of cashew kernels valued at R4,391 crore during the last FY, which is 24.6 % increase in volume compared to that of 2010-11. India exported 91,559 tonne of cashew kernels valued at R2,598 crore in FY 2010-11. India is the worlds largest consumer of cashew nuts with trade estimates of consumption ranging from 170,000 - 190,000 tonne. It is also one of the largest processor and exporter of kernels.