Most cashew farmers in Maharashtra, India, earn less than two dollars per day and live on less than one hectare of land. The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Enterprise Partnership) and PepsiCo, Inc., have announced an agriculture initiative designed to improve the lives of these local smallholder farmers by utilizing an oft-forgotten part of the cashew tree: the cashew fruit.
Many of us identify the cashew by its seed: the crescent-shaped, antioxidant-laden brown nut. But that seed is part of a larger, apple-like cashew fruit that is often discarded, though the fruit is also rich in vitamins. The new partnership between the the Enterprise Partnership and PepsiCo will source cashew fruit from smallholder farmers to be used in Pepsi’s juices, creating new economic development and providing an additional source of income for cashew farmers.
Check out eight photos below of the cashew fruit harvest process.
The cashew consists of 2 distinct parts. The first is the cashew fruit, which is typically red or yellow (and sometimes a blend, making it orange) and pear-shaped. The second is the cashew as we commonly find it: the kidney-shaped seed.
Farmers, their family members, and sometimes seasonal workers go into the fields and pluck cashew fruits from the cashew trees. Sometimes when farmers need additional help to harvest the fruits, the Enterprise Partnership’s Acceso Cashew Enterprise company will bring together local female support groups to help harvest. These female support groups work together and collectively save their money to help build credit at local banks.
Separating the cashew fruit from the seed is a manual process. Often, local women support groups will gather together and sort parts of the fruit by hand.
The cashew fruits and seeds, now separated, are packed into trucks and sent to factories for processing. The seeds will become the cashew nuts we often find in grocery stores.
The cashew fruits undergo the processes for use in juice, including being washed and sorted. To accomplish this part of the process, we work with a local partner, Exotic Fruits, to further spur local, economic development.
The juice of the cashew fruit is sometimes described as a sweet, slightly biting taste similar to mango juice. The cashew fruit juice can now be used as an ingredient in Pepsi’s juices.