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West Africa whole raw cashew nuts information

Ivory Coast cashew nuts trees in February

Quality standards for raw whole cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale)

The crop season in West Africa is from February-March to June.

There is not a general standard for cashew nuts but some parameters can establish the quality of the cashew and the appreciation on the market

1 - Out-turn / Yield
It is the quantity of almonds we can get after to have decorticated 80 kg of raw cashew nuts. The count is in pounds per 80kg.
A good out turn is from 43 to 48 lbs
An excellent out turn is from 48 to 55 lbs

2-. Nut count
It is the number or raw cashew nuts per kg
170 excellent
180-190 very good
190-200 good
200-210 middle
210-220 low middle
230 limit acceptable
lower: poor
Nota :
- It is necessary to balance this information with the out-turn
- In West Africa most of the raw cashew nuts, depending the year, have a nut count from 190 to 210.

3- Moisture / Humidity
For export 12% and less otherwise there are risks for the goods during the shipping

4- Foreign matter
5% max

5- Defective
Lower than 10%

Nota bene

Some sources in Africa are more valued on the market
The major importers from Asia and Europe go directly in the bushland to buy
Do not expect to obtain any discount during the season
Offers are valid for a few days only.
No one exporter agree with a payment after arrival to the final port: SGS control before shipping

Cashew kernels classiffication

Cashews are graded on how white they are and how broken the kernel is. There are four color grades, four styles of break on the kernel and six sizes (or maximum number of kernels per pound)

Classification Method 1 - Classified according to grades / with or without basing on number of kernel per kilogram.     

Cashew kernels have been classified according to 6 quality levels                             

Explanation of cashew grade terminology: The alphabets at the front represent a word descriptive of the form of cashew – W for whole, B for Broken, S for Split etc. The numbers that follow the alphabets (where present) usually represent the number of kernels per pound. Hence, to give an example, W 210 implies that it is a whole cashew kernel which gives 210 kernels per pound
quality Classified according to grades / with or without basing on number of  kernel per kg.
First quality W210, W240, W320, W450, WB, WS, LWP, SWP
Second quality LBW210, LBW240, LBW320, LBW, SW210, SW2440, SW320, SW, SB, SS, LP, SP
Third quality DW320, DW350, DW
Fourth quality DW2, DW3DW2, DW3
Fifth quality SW2, SSW2, SW3, DW, DWTW3, DW, DWT
Sixth quality CS, SK, SK2, TPN, TPN2, TPB, DW4CS, SK, SK2, TPN, TPN2, TPB, DW4

Classification Method 2 – Based on whether the cashew kernel is whole or broken        

Plain Natural Wholes - Cashew is graded in three categories based on colour. White Wholes (“W” appearance – white, pale ivory), Scorched Wholes (“SW” – slightly reddish) and Scorched Wholes Seconds (“SSW” – discolored); W and SW Wholes are graded according to size, i.e. number of nuts per Pound; Super Premium – W 150; Premium – W 210; Regular – W 450; Economy – SW 450

Natural Halves - Cashew Kernels broken evenly into 2 parts are less expensive than wholes. They are used in economy packs and also for candy bars, sweets and pastry. Splits are crisper than wholes and sometimes preferred for that reason. The different varieties are: Fancy Splits (FS): White halves split lengthwise; Fancy Bults (FB): White halves broken crosswise; Scorched Splits; Scorched Bults     

Natural Broken’s - Natural Cashew pieces are used in economy packs and also in confectionery, pastry, ice creams & cooking; Large White Pieces (LWP); Scorched Pieces (SP); Scorched Pieces Seconds (SPS)

Category Grade Name
Whole W-320 White Wholes
  SW-320 Scorched Wholes
Scorched Wholes SW-450 Scorched Wholes
  SSW Scorched Wholes Seconds
Splits FS Fancy Splits
Splits SS Scorched Splits
Butts FB Fancy Butts
Butts SB Scorched Butts
Pieces LWP Large White Pieces
Pieces SWP Small White Pieces
  SP Scorched Pieces
Scorched Pieces SPS Scorched Pieces Seconds
  SSP Scorched Small Pieces
  BB Baby Bits

Technical Requirements for Cashew Kernels

The following are some of the typical technical requirements of cashew kernels that are traded in the various parts of the world:

The kernels should be dry and should have the characteristic shape. While depending on the grade they can be either scorched or unscorched, wholes or broken, they should be free from oil (CNSL) and the think outer skin.

Cashew kernels should be completely free from living insects, moulds, from rodent contamination and insect damage

Cashew kernels should have natural smell, and should be free of rancid or any other unnatural smell.

Moisture content: The cashew kernels should have moisture content not greater than 5% by weight.

Cashew Kernel Preservation

Cashew kernels should be preserved in a dry clean place, far from heat resource. The storage of preservation should be closed, dry clean, free from foreign smell, no insect, rodents.

Cashew Kernel Transportation

Cashew kernels should be transported by dry, clean, closed transport facilities that free of foreign smell. The loading operations should be done gently, with care.

Cashew Kernel Standards

Cashew kernel standards have been laid down by the following organizations:
AFI (Association of Food Industries of New York)
TCVN 4850 1998 - Vietnam Cashew Nuts Kernel and Technical Request
Grade Specification for Indian cashew Nuts kernel

 Raw cashew nuts availabilities during the crop season