Is it unethical to eat cashews?
Why these popular nuts have a dark history
For anyone looking for a healthy and filling snack, cashews are a delicious option. However, do these tropical tree nuts have a dark history?
According to reports from Mashed, the majority of the world's cashew supply comes from countries such as India, Vietnam, and Tanzania. The process of creating viable and edible cashews is long and very hard on the harvesters. The original nut form has several tough layers that need to be discarded, and those layers are toxic. Unfortunately, many of the workers who harvest the world's cashews are paid little to nothing for their grueling work. In addition, permanent damage to the skin can happen from handling the toxic shells.
In 2011, Time Magazine went as far as to call the nuts "blood cashews" because of the extreme poverty and abuse these workers face. The publication continued to report that the United States and European Union are undoubtedly the largest cashew import markets in the world, and mainly trade with small international farms.
President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has deemed the country to be in a full-fledged "Cashew Crisis," with both the country and the workers getting abused in the competitive markets. Even though the government has attempted to "buy out" the nuts, the crisis is only steepening.
BBC Journalist James Hall tweeted, "Cashew crisis in Tanzania. Cashew farmers for weeks refusing to sell crops, saying price too low. Pres Magufuli steps in, makes matters worse by rejecting buyers' offers of US$1.30/kg. TZ taxpayer now footing bill as army told to buy nuts for US$1.43."
Cashew crisis in Tanzania. Cashew farmers for weeks refusing to sell crops, saying price too low. Pres Magufuli steps in, makes matters worse by rejecting buyers' offers of US$1.30/kg. TZ taxpayer now footing bill as army told to buy nuts for US$1.43. https://t.co/03ZthdmErt pic.twitter.com/PHk5nQ6rxg— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) 13 November 2018
While many may believe cashews are just a small nut, this problem may be a tough one to crack.
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