Cashew kernel market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.27% over the forecast period to reach a market size of US$6.932 billion in 2025 from US$5.394 billion in 2019. The USA (152591 tons), Germany (47646 tons), Netherlands (45889 tons), United Arab Emirates (21482 tons), United Kingdom (20917 tons) were among the top importing countries of the world based on the Import quantity of shelled cashew nuts imported as of 2018. However, these figures are relatively lower than what was registered against each of the importing nations in 2017 mentioned above, Viz. the USA registered an import of 153448 tons and Germany registered an import of 53922 tons [Source: USDA]. According to Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit which is the Dutch Ministry responsible for agricultural policy, animal welfare, fisheries, food policy, food safety, forestry and natural conservation, prices of cashew nuts collapsed in 2018 resulting in the decrease in import value. Imports of cashew nuts reportedly reached a zenith during 2017 but with supply outperforming demand to a certain extent and sales from 2017 stock being enough to meet demand in the forts half of 2018 collectively led to the drop in import value. Nevertheless, in Europe Germany is the largest European importer and market of cashew nuts. The Netherlands is also the leading European re-exporter with cashew nuts, among others being the top re-exported products. In Italy, the production of pesto requires the consumption of pine nuts to be substituted by comparatively cheaper alternatives and cashew nuts is one of them. In view of above, and based on the increasing consumer inclination to consume healthy food the European cashew kernel market is expected to be driven by robust growth. Moreover, the use of cashew nuts as snacks, in breakfast cereals and for production of various functional food is expected to further bolster the cashew kernel market.
Several government policies and international initiative are expected to drive the cashew kernel market around the world during the forecast period. For instance, the policies laid out by West African nations like that of the elaborate cashew sector intervention policies that have been put in place by Côte d’Ivoire. That is in 2015 the country has reportedly introduced an export tax of FCFA 30 per kg of raw cashew nuts (RCN) and since 2016 the industries engaged in local processing have been supported by subsidies derived from the funds from this tax, at the rate of FCFA 400 per kg of exported raw cashew kernel (RCK). This is an addition to the existing export levies i.e. FCFA 10 per kg of RCN to support critical functions pertaining to the sector. In 2017, Benin too had reportedly put an export tax of FCFA 10 per kg of RCN. Other policies that are conducive to local cashew processing in the west African nations includes an indicative minimum price for RCN at the start of the buying season which reportedly sets the bar for influence selling and buying behaviour. Policies pertaining to government investment promotion which can reportedly include tax-free industrial areas as exemplified by ‘points francs industriels’ in Benin, tax exemptions for the first years of operations, which vary from 5 to 8 years by country, leasing of land in dedicated industrial zones, and including access to utilities as it is the case in Côte d’Ivoire. Moreover, export tax exemptions for RCKs are also favourable to the growth of the market. Benin and Côte d’Ivoire also have import tax exemptions on cashew nut processing machinery. Exporters in Côte d’Ivoire have an obligation to reserve at least 15% of their RCN volumes. A guarantee fund facilitated by the government to help processing units access crop finance, which Côte d’Ivoirebacks up bank loans of eligible processing units for up to 25% of the total. In Côte d’Ivoire a subsidy of FCFA 400 per kg of RCK exported is applicable, which in 2017 was initially equivalent to 10% of RCN value and later increased to 20% at FCFA 400 per kg in 2018, resulting for sharp drops in RCN market price. Besides, in February 2020, it was announced that the USDA’s Food For Progress (FFPr) Regional Cashew Value Chain Project would be rolling out a $38 million project that is envisaged for six-years, in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia, which will reportedly enhance the regional cashew value chain to strengthen the processed cashew trade in local and international markets. The project is also called the Linking Infrastructure, Finance, and Farms to Cashews (LIFFT-Cashew) which is expected to facilitate the processing of cashew nuts in greater quantity since only 5-6% of the cashew nuts are processed locally. This project is expected to pave the way for moreinvestments, and foster market-led development apart from the regional integration of cashew sector that will partly contribute to cashew kernel market growth in the next few years [ Source: the U.S. Embassy in The Gambia].
Recent developments in Asia too are expected to augment the growth of global cashew kernel market.For instance, in Vietnam, MARD (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) had issued a list of 13 national product which acknowledge cashew among others. With preferential support measures which are offered under the decree 57/2018/ND-CP, cashew among others will be eligible for the same. The decree is related to incentive policies which are intended to encourage investments from enterprises aimed at agriculture, among others. The preferential measures include support for investments in facilities and equipment for processing or preserving agricultural products, support for the transfer, and the application of high-technology in agriculture, preferential credit, market development, and promotion activities, and exemptions from or reductions in land or water surface rents, among others. The policy inurement put in place by the Vietnamese government which appropriate to cashew nuts is the implicit taxing of producers of such export commodities. This results in the receipt of prices that are relatively lower than the global prices which in turn reportedly leads to the total market price support (MPS) becoming equal to the sum of positive and negative support. On the other hand, in August 2020, it was reported that the Honorable VS Sunilkumar, Agriculture Minister of Kerala, India had reportedly inaugurated a mobile exhibition unit and marketing of new processed products of cashew. This initiative is a part of strengthening the extension activities of the Kerala Agricultural University, which included the marketing of new nutrient fortified value-added products of sprouted cashew nuts developed by the university. Moreover, Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy 2015 – 2025 envisions promoting the export of processed agricultural products to reach 12% of all exports by 2025.