Did you know that a cashew nut is actually a seed that comes from a tree and grows out of the bottom of a cashew apple? Nope, nor did we!!
We were also surprised to discover that cashews are not as innocuous as one might think and the truth of their journey to the UK shops is not really one the shops that sell them would want us to know.
In India for example, the Guardian has revealed that 1.2 million people work in the cashew nut industry, making it very economically important. Machines are not able to do the jobs as well as humans as they break the fragile nuts which makes them less valuable. But the labour intensive work is often done without protective equipment. Payment is by weight not by the hour, leading to long working days, ill health and low pay. What’s more, the roasting process produces carbon dioxide and monoxide. Those who work around the roasting process complain of breathing problems, tight lungs, and chronic coughing.
At Scoop and Scales we now gladly stock ‘Fatima Imports’ cashew nuts whose UK importer has made huge efforts to ensure a fair supply chain for their product. Fatima Imports are supplied by Zantye Cashew Nuts’ processing units in a town of Bicholi, Goa. They provide good working conditions and wages in the region and funded health and education projects that support the local farmers ,workers and their families. Zantye have generated around 300 employment opportunities in the town of Bicholim, Goa and 90% of their employees are women.
Here is a list of some of this company’s inspiring achievements to date:
- certified organic Control Union (India) and Indian Organic
- grown in agroforestry systems (livestock graze around them)
- sourced from 250 farmers paid 5% over the government controlled price
- audited by SEDEX certification
- the processing factory pays above the minimum wage for the area
- protective equipment is provided to factory staff who need it
- factory staff are able to work flexible hours, allowing more women to work
- The nuts are shipped around the world by boat
- Zantye Brothers Educational Fountain have funded a higher education college affiliated to the University of Goa
- The Hirabai Zantye Eye hospital provides eye care to the rural areas where the nuts are grown and factory workers live
- a local co-operative bank to offer financial solutions to individuals and small to medium business enterprises.
In a nut shell (see what I did there), The Goan Cashew Is…
Traceable, Goan grown and processed. Full visibility and control throughout the chain.
Ethical, Ensuring the transfer of value and fair working conditions to every sector in the chain.
Organic, Fully organic. Soil association certified. No use of Petroleum based pesticides or fertilisers, No artificial preservatives, No GM
Premium, Indian cashews are widely regarded as the best tasting in the world
So, whether you are munching them as a snack (delicious roasted with a little spice and salt!), adding them to granola, or using them as a creamy sauce for curry, you can rest assured that your cashew nuts from Scoop and Scales aren’t costing the earth and by purchasing them you are benefitting both the people preparing them for you and the wider community in which they live.