How to plant and grow Cashew

The cashew nut is mainly farmed in the west of Zambia. With low production levels, low cashew quality and the lack of quality standards, this is definitely an agricultural opportunity to explore in Zambia.

Cashews grow on trees. They are also known as nuts. However, the cashew nut is not the only fruit of the cashew tree. The other part is called the cashew apple. The cashew nut is found inside the kidney shaped shell that is attached to the bottom of the cashew apple.

The planting process

Cashew trees grow like weeds with plenty of water. Also, they are fairly draught resistant and grow well even on marginal soils where other fruit trees would fail. The best soils for growing cashews are sandy soils. Select a well drained spot, preferably a place that has some protection from strong winds.

If you want to grow your trees from seeds you can start them in pots or straight in the ground. Keep them moist and they’ll sprout within four or five days. The best time to plant cashew seeds is when you can get hold of fresh seed. The sooner you plant the fresh seed, the better.

cashew tree
Mature trees can grow to 12 metres tall so plant 10 metres apart. Plant each cashew seed about 10 cm deep into the potting soil. The seeds take about four to six days to germinate. Since cashew trees grow well in sandy soil, add some sand or limestone.

After germination

As you wait the three years for the cashew tree to produce fruit, be sure to water and fertilize it. Irrigate during dry periods, and fertilize the trees when they actively grow, as well as during flowering and nut development. Prune periodically to remove parts of the cashew trees that aren’t useful, limit chance of disease, and improve overall health. Those planted inside should be trimmed as needed. If insects like the twig borer start to eat at the branches, spray with insecticide.

When the cashew tree blooms, the fruit is almost ready. The cashew apple, which is what the cashew nut hangs from, turns deep red when it’s ripe. Then, it’s time to put on gloves and pick the apples and nuts. While the nuts require extra processing, the apple can be eaten or made into juice immediately. The cashew apple is rarely seen in stores, so take advantage of the chance to eat this incredibly sweet fruit. Also inside that shell is a very nasty, caustic liquid that causes severe burns, so be careful when handling it.

Separate the cashew apple from the nut, and enjoy the apple. Luckily the nuts keep very well inside their shells. You can store them for two years so you don’t have to process every batch you pick. Keep them somewhere cool and dry until you have enough to justify the effort of processing them.


78 thoughts on “How to plant and grow Cashew

    1. call mr Alex in mongu on 095484728, 0978783060 . he has been engaged by government to prepare 6 million cashew nut plants to supply countrywide, so i also got some for my farm in lusaka.

      1. Hi Sitwala,

        I’m interested in growing Cashew nuts in the north of Zambia…are there any precedences for this?

        May you confirm Alex’s first number?

  1. A very interesting article, where can one buy the seeds for cashew nuts? I’m in the Chisamba/chongwe area and we’ve sandy soils but since government has prioritised Western province for cashew nut growing would they have extension services in my area?
    Could it also be possible to grow olives in this same area but don’t know how I could get hold of seedlings …. South Africa perhaps, any contacts?

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Please check with Alex.

      Olives, very sandy soils have poor water retention capacity and require intensive management in terms of irrigation and nutrition. I’ll find out about Olive seeds and pop you an email.

          1. I would like to plant some cashew nuts am in Lusaka please send me your mobile so that l can communicate.
            My No 0978273923

    1. Hi Adeagbo, I don’t think you’ll be able to find a tutor. If its a challenge to read from all the literature available, you’ll have to find someone that grows cashew. This would mean travelling to areas where cashew is grown.All the best in your quest.

  2. hii , very interesting article on cashew nut project, to me its a longterm venture, which we will think it on our table, kindly info me on butternut farming

      1. I am a graduate from China and I have Chinese people looking for cashew nuts to buy at a large scale… if you have any information on the export of cashew nuts or any Government contacts that can help me export the cashew nuts please contact me on +260969404094 as soon as possible

  3. please how do we make sales on the nuts?is there a permanent Price tag?like selling per killo or what?and please can you recommend some companies that one can sell for?

    1. Good day Yetunde, Most prices are not regulated. You need to do market research and competitor analysis. It will help you see how others are packaging and making profit.

  4. This article is extremely helpful. Thumps up to the author. I have come in western province, mongu and the first thing I want to do is buy the cashew nut seedlings. I think it will be a good investment as I look around for more to do.

  5. What is the minimum number of cashew nut seedlings do you deliver to those outside Mongu. I stay in Chongwe, Lusaka. I would like to join the group. .Thanks

  6. I have a 8 Hactare piece of land a few kilometres from Mwembeshi bridge along Mumbwa road. After reading your article on Cashew nuts growing i developed interest. Can you grow cashew nuts under rain or you need irrigation equipment the way we do on vegetable growing. Please let me know the best method on how to grow cashew nuts commercially. I hope our area could be suitable to grow cashew nuts.
    Waiting to hear from you.

  7. Hello
    Please may assist me with your contact details, I really need to talk to you in person over the same issue of cashew nuts.

  8. Good evening – I have read your article – we have a farm which has mature cashew nuts which we are harvesting at the moment – we have had great difficulty in trying to shell them – from burning the shell … rolling it in sand – all very labor intensive and very few nuts harvested – help please!!

    1. Good day Shane, If you’re processing cashew on a large scale, then you need to consider investing in shell removing equipment

  9. Those that want to buy cashew seedlings you can book now l will be selling seedlings from 16 January at K20 per seedling. Call/whatsup 0978340136.

  10. wonderful article! I am very interested in cashews. l got a few seeds and planted them and they have germinated. I m so excited. but do they need protection from fungal diseases too?

  11. Very good article! I have always had an interest in growing cashew nuts but it looks like this wonderful cashcrop is only suitable for Western Zambia. Has anyone done research to establish it’s suitability in other parts of the Country? I would like to grow cashew nuts on a commercial basis in Luapula province.

  12. This is a very powerful entrepreneurial movement in Zambia.
    I am very much interested and I would want to share this opportunity to a good number of my fellow Zambians.
    Iam currently based in Lusaka, whom do I contact for more information..
    Help pliz

  13. For those in Livingstone needing seedlings, you can come to DALICE and ask for Nathan Choolwe Maambo he sales the seedlings at k25 per plant. You can still contact him on whatsApp on#0976010750. He also gives help on way to gratf the seedlings and how to grow them almost any where.

  14. Hello guys,

    I was searching about Zambia Nuts Processors and I came into this website. I have seen that Zambia has great potential for nuts and especially for the cashew. The thing is that we are a manufacturer of nuts roasting machinery company who produce machines for cashews as well. Saucing and roasting in one line. Starting from 10kg/h upto 2.000kg/hour. Depending of the factory need we are able to adjust. We have done sales already to many countries, except to Zambia yet.

    I will be coming to Zambia in the begining of September. 09/2019. So if anyone interested, feel free to contact me.

    Zambia has great potential said a Turkish nuts gourmet.

    Mail: [email protected]
    Phone. +90 555 678 8178 or +90 542 647 82 84

    King Regards,

  15. I love cashew nuts….Can they grow well in Lusaka and choma. In which season can they be planted? Anyone with seedlings here in Lusaka?

  16. I have a cashew tree in my yard in woodlands Lusaka and it has been producing fruit for a while now. Anyone interested ib getting fresh cashew seedlings? Contact me on 0971035676

  17. Hie

    i am one of the people interested in cashew nut farming.
    I have planted some in Palabana.
    I need the regular guidance as I embark on this project.
    I need help from experienced cashewnut farmer.


  18. I am interested in cashew nut growing. I need seeds or seedlings. Let me know the current price of each. Please contact me ASAP. Call/WhatsApp 0777209172

  19. I am Kazembe Peter from Plant A Million Zambia we grow and sell Fruit Trees, Palm Trees, Timber Trees, Grass & Fencing Plants, Flowers, and Indigenous Fruit Trees. of any kind. Call or WhatsApp me on 0966 906030 for more details.

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