The cashew tree
The cashew tree, Anacardium occidentale L., belongs to the family of the Anacardiaceae. Cashew is a cash crop, which contributes 0.03% to GDP in Sri Lanka. Cashew was introduced from Brazil to Sri Lanka by early Portuguese settlers in the 16th century and later spread as a dry land crop in the drier part of the country and has developed an important agricultural crop (Lakshmi et al., 2000). Cashew cultivation is best in dry zones because the climatic elements and soil conditions are favorable for getting a good yield (Azam et al., 1997). At present, cashew is becoming a valuable crop for farmers in Sri Lanka where there is a great potential for better production for the local and export market and which is generating more job opportunities to a higher number of farmers and small scale producers in Sri Lanka (Jayasekera, 2005).