Anacardium occidentale L. (Anacardiaceae, 2n = 42), commonly known as cashew, is a native of North East Brazil in Latin America. Being an evergreen tree of tropics, this is cultivated in tropical region on either side of the equator for its delightful nutritious kernels and apple, besides its by-product like cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL). Needless to mention that delicious cashew kernels are excellent dietary supplements owing to their unique combination of fat ( 47 - 50.9%), proteins (21%), carbohydrates (18 - 20%), minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber and thus, find place from tasty dry nuts, sweet dishes to a range of confectionary products all over the world. Cashew apples, the pseudo fruits, rich in ascorbic acid (40 - 390 mg g-1), sugars, minerals and other antioxidants are used in limited quantities for preparing concentrated juice, syrup, ready to drink beverage, jam, nectar, frozen pulp, fruit wafers, wine, vinegar, cashew feni, etc. CNSL finds extensive use in paints, textile, resin industries and ship building industries and thus, is considered as an important by - product of high trade value.

                     Cashew is cultivated in more than 28 countries of Latin America, Asia, Africa and Australia, under an area of about 40.42 lakh hectares with an annual estimated global production of 31.85 lakh tonnes of raw nuts (FAO, 2009). In India, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra on West Coast and Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal on East coast are the major cashew growing states. Maharashtra leads in area, production and productivity with 1.64 lakh hectares, 1.97 lakh MT and 1.5 MT ha-1 respectively.