CASHEW KERNELS : EXPORT SPECIFICATIONS
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The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC) was established by the Government of India in the year 1955, with the active cooperation of the cashew industry with the object of promoting exports of cashew kernels and cashew-nut shell liquid from India. By its very set up, the Council provides the necessary institutional frame-work for performing the different functions that serve to intensify and promote exports of cashew kernels and cashew-nut shell liquid.
Standard specifications for Indian cashew kernels for export have been laid down by the Government of India under the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act 1963.
Cashew Kernels are graded into white/scorched wholes, pieces, splits, butts etc.. depending on the shape, size & colour of the kernel. The Govt.of India Act prescribes 33 different grades of cashew kernels. Only 26 grades are commercially available and exported. They are:
- W180, is the ‘King of Cashew’ – They are larger in size and very expensive.
- W210, are popularly known as ‘ Jumbo ‘ nuts.
- W240, it is an attractive grade which is reasonably priced.
- W320, are the most popular among cashew kernels and highest in terms of availability, worldwide.
- W450, are the smallest and cheapest white whole kernels and hence the favorite among low priced whole grades.
Scorched wholes are another grade of cashew kernels, which have a slight brown colour due to longer roasting. They have all the other characteristics of white kernels and have the same nutritional qualities.
Butts, splits and pieces are priced lower and are ideal for cooking, preparation of sweets and savory snacks.
Quality Control and Pre-shipment Inspection
Exports of cashew kernels from India are normally subject to voluntary quality control and pre-shipment inspection. Inspection of cashews is being conducted under the consignment-wise inspection. It is ensured that the product is processed and packed as per the standards prescribed, by drawing samples from the finished product. Export of roasted and salted cashew kernels are also normally subjected to voluntary quality control.
Packing and Standard Weight
Cashew kernels in bulk are packed in four gallon prime tins with a net weight of 11.34 Kg (Or 25 lbs) in each tin. The filled tins are then vacuumized and filled with carbon-di-oxide gas and sealed. Two such tins of the same grade are packed in a carton for export. The net weight of each carton is thus 22.68 Kg. (50 lbs.). Some manufacturers also pack in tins of 10kg net to suit the requirements of buyers in certain markets. Recently, some exporters have started using flexible packs instead of tins as many buyers opt for new generation flexible packs.
The overall dimensions of a carton are about: Length : 490 mm, Breadth : 240 mm, Height : 350 mm, Overall Volume : 0. 041 Cu. M/Carton
Cashew shipments from India are mainly in 2Oft. containers which carry about 650-700 cartons. Requests for less than a container load are also accepted by exporters in India. Freight is charged per Cubic Meter on volume basis. Freight for full container load is fixed and the same is cheaper than the freight for part container load (LCL).
1. Contracts are normally made on FOB or C&F basis.
2. Pricing in international trade in cashew is in US Dollars per lb. Current and forward price quotations in US $ and other currencies are available on request directly from member exporters of the Council.
3. Business in cashew is done on an offer and acceptance basis between buyers and sellers by telephone, telex or cable, since the prices are subject to frequent fluctuations.
4. The cost of insurance is borne by the buyer.
5. At the time of contract, the month of shipment, grade, price etc., are to be clearly indicated. Sometimes, exporters offer commodity for shipments upto six months in advance.
6. Export dealings are usually finalized on the basis of the opening of 100% irrevocable Letter of Credit by the buyer in favour of the shipper. The LC is opened immediately on execution of contract or one month prior to shipment.
India is the largest producer and exporter of cashew kernels in the world. Over 65 per cent of the world export of cashew kernels is accounted for by India. Indian cashews are consumed in as many as 60 countries all over the world, the major markets being the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Germany Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Middle East countries. The Indian cashew kernel is well acclaimed for its good quality, taste and appearance.
Members of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India, who are manufacturers and exporters of cashew kernels are the major sources for cashews from India. Indian cashews are available with prominent importers in USA, Canada, Japan, the Middle East, Singapore, Australia, U.K. and other EEC countries.
There are regular shipping facilities from India to all ports of the world. Major shipments from India take place through Cochin port. Other ports are Tuticorin, Mangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.
Regular services of container ships are available from Indian ports on India-USA, India-UK/Continent, India-Australia, India-Japan, India-Middle East and India-Singapore routes.
In AFI standards specifications are given clearly for serious damage and defects for all the whole grade classifications whereas,
In UNECE standards, the allowable tolerance limits are given specifically for Extra class, Class I and Class II.
In CEPC standards, specifications are given for allowable percentage of brokens and maximum moisture content and it is 5% for both.
BIS standards broken and next lower grade should not exceed by 5 % of the weight of the packing. The other requirements such as free from moulds, insects, extraneous matters etc are just mentioned and no specific tolerable limits are given. But it has been specified that the kernels should be completely free from rancidity.
AFI standards: Next lower grade (NLG) should not exceed by 10% of the weight of the wholes.
UNECE standards: NLG should not exceed by 5% for “Extra” class and 7.5% for Class I.
CEPC standards: The allowable limit for next lower grade is 5% for white wholes and 7.5% for Scorched and Dessert wholes.
BIS standards: The allowable limit for next lower grade for wholes is 5%.
Definition: In AFI standards, the butts are defined as the kernels that are less than 7/8 but not less than 3/8 of a whole kernel and the cotyledons are still naturally attached. The splits are defined as the kernel one half of which has been split length wise provided not more than 1/8 of this cotyledon has been broken off.
In UNECE standards, brokens are defined as those kernels where 1/8 or more of the original kernel is broken off. Brokens are further classified into butts, splits and pieces.
- Butts are defined as the kernels of not less than 3/8 of a whole kernel which have been broken cross wise but the cotyledons are still naturally attached.
- Splits are the kernels that are split length wise.
- Pieces are the kernels that are broken more than two pieces.
(The specification for buts in AFI and UNECE standards are same.)
In BIS and CEPC standards, the kernels that are broken cross wise and naturally attached are described as butts and kernels that are split naturally lengthwise are described as splits. No specific size as part of the wholes is given.
Classification of pieces:
- In AFI standards, the pieces are classified as “large pieces”, “small pieces”, “chips or small pieces”, “grains, granules or baby bits”, “fine grains”, “fines”, and “mixed pieces” based on the size.
- In UNECE standards, the pieces are classified as “Large pieces”, “Small pieces”, “Very small pieces”, “Baby bits or granule” based on the size.
- In Brazilian standards, the pieces are broadly classified as “large pieces”, “small pieces”, “small Brazilian pieces” and “Brazilian granules” based on size.
- In CEPC and BIS standards, the pieces are broadly classified as “white pieces”, “scorched pieces” and “Dessert pieces” based mainly on the colour and appearance.
- In AFI, CEPC, BIS and Brazilian standards, within the broad classification of pieces there are various grade designations.
Size tolerances in various standards for broken and pieces:
- For Butts and splits: NLG (Next Lower Grade) should not exceed by 10% by weight.
- For Pieces: NLG should not exceed by 5% by weight.
- For butts and splits: NLG should not exceed 5% by weight for all the three classes namely, “Extra”, “Class I” and “Class II”.
- For pieces: NLG should not exceed 5% by weight for “Extra” class and 7% by weight for the other two classes
- For butts and splits, the grades, SSP, LWP, & SWP: NLG should not exceed by 5% by weight.
- For SB, SS, SP, SPS, DP: NLG should not exceed 7.5% by weight.
- For Baby bits: NLG should not exceed by 1% by weight.
- For white pieces and scorched pieces: NLG should not exceed 5% by weight.
- For dessert pieces: NLG should not exceed 10% by weight.
The NLG limit specified in CEPC and UNECE standards seem to be same more or less
Packing and marking:
The general particulars to be marked as specified in the standards are:
- Name of the product and trade name or brand name
- Name and address of the producer or packer
- Net weight
- Country of origin
- Buyer’s name or marks
- Other marks agreed to by buyer and seller.
The specifications regarding the particulars to be marked remain almost the same for the standards except that AFI has specified that country of origin is to be given and BIS has specified that name of the country where packed is to be given.
UNECE standards has specified that the marking for small retail packs should be made such that the letters are grouped on the same side, legibly and indelibly. Variety name or commercial type is also to be mentioned along with the country of origin. The optional specifications are crop year and the district or regional or local place name where the packed cashews are grown.
In CEPC standards, specifications regarding marking are not given.
In CEPC standards, specifications are given for packing and standard weight, and shipping.
UNECE standards has specified that the use of materials like paper or stamps bearing trade specifications is allowed only if the printing or labeling has been done with non toxic ink or glue. Also the use of lead solder is not permitted. However, the exact size of boxes is not specified
Practices in cashew trade:
Currently, most of the Indian traders use standards as recommended by CEPC, while some of them also follow AFI standards.