Optimization of Harvesting, Post-harvesting Handling and Utilization of Cashew Apples in Coastal Kenya

Handling and Utilization of Cashew Apples Research Activity

Research Centre: KALRO Mtwapa

Principal Researcher: Mr. Francis Muniu

Research Background:

Cashew fruit composes of cashew nuts and apples. At present about 90-95% of the cashew apple is wasted owing to their rapidly perishable nature, lack of sophisticated harvesting techniques, improper postharvest post-harvest handling, and non-adaption of cashew processing technologies.

The utilization of the apple by processing could generate products that would be an added source of income for farmers and create employment in the areas where the cashew is grown hence generating more profit. Technologies have been developed in other countries like in India –what we are aiming at is economic utilization of the cashew apple by processing it into various value-added products. The cashew apple is the fleshy part of the cashew fruit attached to the cashew nut. It is a rich source of ascorbic acid, polyphenols, minerals, vitamins, and sugar.

Its phytochemical profile reveals a complex source of natural antioxidants such as phenolic compounds and carotenoids which makes this pseudo fruit an excellent source of antioxidants that can scavenge free radicals or reactive oxygen species, inhibit free radical formation, and prevent damage of cellular as well as cellular death. The cashew apple is highly perishable not exceeding four days at room temperature. Its availability is seasonal and even when in season, a large quantity of these fruits are wasted due to lack of adequate storage facilities.

The seasonal nature of the production of the perishable cashew apple, the poor storage the lack of information on an appropriate processing technology are the reasons hindering the full utilization of the fruit. Because it is rapid in perishability the fruit is often neglected. The project focuses on promoting the underutilized cashew fruit in the coastal area by obtaining value-added products from the cashew apple for income generation, employment, food security, and nutrition.

Research Objectives:

  • Establish physical indices of growth and maturation of cashew apples and nuts.
  • Analyze the nutritive values of the cashew apples and nuts.
  • Formulate and test recipes for cashew apple products.


 This activity is ongoing.