Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.); a tropical nut tree crop, is a source of food, income, industrial raw materials and foreign exchange for many countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Nigeria, current cashew trading and exports is worth 24 billion naira ($160 million) and over one million people depend on the industry. Commercial cultivation of cashew in Nigeria dates back to more than 60 years, while research and development into its production, processing and marketing started in 1972. The past four decades were marked with introduction of exotic cashew genotypes, selection, cultivation and production from local and exotic varieties. Much discrepancies exists in yield records, current national production of raw nuts is estimated at 836,500 MT on 366,000 ha with an average yield of 2,286 kg/ha. Just about 5% of the produced nuts are processed in Nigeria. Unimproved planting materials, aging trees and low yields are part of the production constraints of raw cashew nut in Nigeria. There are records of selection and release of genotypes based on some desirable genetic attributes. Moreover, there are advances towards breeding for yield, quality and hybrid generation. This paper addressed the status of Nigeria cashew production, research efforts, achievements, constraints and areas of possible improvement.
Key words: Cashew, income generation, research, production, Nigeria.