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In addition to these macroeconomic impacts we cannot ignore the critical consequences accruing to food security in the country. Rice production is declining in Guinea-Bissau, partly due to the increase in cashew cultivation, and as a result, rice imports have increased.

A deterioration in the terms of international trade or other factors that hamper raw nut sales, can negatively impact the availability of rice and the food security of populations. The species is also attacked by several diseases, some of which have high potential for damage e. However, information published on enemies of cashew in Guinea-Bissau is scarce. Vasconcelos et al. Both larvae and adults tunnel into living trees inflicting significant damage and even the death of trees.

The trunk and root borer, Plocaederus ferrugineus Linnaeus Coleoptera: Cerambycidae , is able to kill trees within weeks of infestation and is an increasing threat to cashew in the country.

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The stem girdler, Analeptes trifasciata Fabricius Coleoptera: Cerambycidae is also a matter of concern as this species is increasingly prevalent in the southern part of the country. All three species have been described as serious pests, for instance, in Nigeria Asogwa et al. Anthracnose is considered the most significant disease of cashew in several countries e. The causal agent is commonly assigned to the fungal species Colletotrichum gloeosporioides Penz.

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The selection of resistant genotypes to anthracnose in the country were already subject to study but the results and consequent selection and multiplication of resistant clones were not applied in the field. Gummosis is an exudative disease described in in Brazilian cashew plantations. The fungus Lasiodiplodia theobromae Pat. This pathogen is also responsible for the twig and floral shoot die-back, important diseases, for instance, in Nigerian orchards Hammed et al.

Gum exudation is the most visible symptom of gummosis but lesions may reach deep woody tissues, completely blocking the sap flow and leading to death of the trees Freire et al. In the Guinean orchards, gummosis seems to be expanding and is beginning to kill trees. Given the extent of the area occupied by this monoculture, the inadequate functioning of agricultural extension in the country and the low level of education and organization of producers, the spread of pests and diseases in cashew may become an additional serious problem in the short or medium term in Guinea-Bissau.

The cashew tree is well adapted to most of the soils and climate conditions of Guinea-Bissau Goujon et al. It is less vulnerable to inter-annual rain variations and requires less manpower than alternative crops, produces fruits which are easy to collect and store and, until recently, without major marketing problems. Moreover, in a country where land ownership is still an open question, cashew establishes a bond with the land and a means of securing it.

Not surprisingly, the area cultivated with cashew has dramatically increased in a few decades and is likely to continue to expand in the near future. The cashew sector is presently the most important economic activity in the country, but the strong dependence on this crop involves some potentially dangerous risks for the country and its inhabitants, particularly local farmers.

These risks are accentuated by the political instability in the country, the low value added along the value chain, the fragility of research, development and extension that is being carried out, and the legal framework, which must be improved in order to convert an activity which for local farmers is little more than a collecting activity, into a real business. So, achieving an appropriate level of diversification in agricultural production and increased productivity through appropriate technology, better management practices and better germplasm, as well as accrued added value of cashew production is needed to minimize risks for farmers and to achieve long-term stability.

It is, therefore, important to reach a balance between food security and diversity of cash crops. This is especially so for tree crops, which have a much longer time frame to maturity than annual crops.

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The changes induced by the cashew boom at the social and environmental levels still need to be deeply analyzed and understood. Cashew is a small tree cultivated in monospecific orchards with a closed, mono-layered vegetation structure. Scattered remnant trees are not always present and plant diversity in cashew orchards is lower than in the former forest fallows. As the area of cashew orchards increases, the land devoted to fallow or other crops e. Nevertheless, it seems that cashew orchards can conserve the potential for forest recovery as documented by Sousa et al.

Co-utilization without conflict by people and chimpanzees of the cashew nuts and false fruits, respectively, was also reported in the area of Cantanhez National Park, Tombali region Hockings and Sousa, On the other hand, the demand on services provided by the natural ecosystems e.

Fire is a common feature in the savannahs and woodlands of Guinea-Bissau and a further issue deserving attention is the relationship between fire and cashew orchards. Since cashew flowering and fruit bearing are significantly affected by fires, a decrease in the number and intensity of bushfires in areas of intensive cashew cultivation is likely Temudo and Abrantes, It is the authors' belief that if Guinea-Bissau is going to maintain its international raw cashew earnings and penetrate the cashew kernel market successfully, it will have to adopt an active position in three main sectors:.

The current policy of fragmented decortication must be thoroughly analyzed from this point of view. Guinea-Bissau has no visibility in the kernel market, and potential buyers can be expected to hesitate about kernels from an unknown source. Developing a reputation as a supplier requires stringent quality control, certification to recognized standards of decortication practices and development of a brand in which buyers will have confidence in terms of quality and regular supplies.

Achieving a market reputation is difficult for a single or even a number of small factories scattered throughout the country. Larger volume is needed which is difficult for small factories.

Quality control should not be left to individual and semi-artisanal processors nor to exporters. An inspection agency is needed with official power to issue quality label certificates, including those for organic production. On the other hand, diversification in cash and food crops is an important instrument for reducing the dependency of the economy on cashew production and the exporting of raw nuts. Araujo, J. Asogwa, E. Distribution and damage characteristics of an emerging insect pest of cashew, Plocaederus ferrugineus L.

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae in Nigeria: a preliminary report.

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African Journal of Biotechnology 8: 53— Distribution and damage characteristics of Analeptes trifasciata Fabricius Coleoptera: Cerambycidae on cashew Anacardium occidentale Linnaeus in Nigeria. Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America 2: — Behrens, R. Cashew as an Agroforestry Crop: Prospects and Potentials.

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Margraf Verlag, Weikersheim, Germany. Bessa, A. Boubacar-Sid, B. Conflict, livelihoods, and poverty in Guinea-Bissau. Policy Research Working Paper, Catarino, L. Agents and plants used in traditional medicine in the Orango Island Guinea-Bissau. Scripta Botanica Belgica An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Guinea-Bissau West Africa. Blumea Cont, W. Fenske, J.

Land tenure and investment incentives: evidence from West Africa. Journal of Development Economics FAO, Rome, Italy. Forests and forestry in small island developing states: forest resources. Freire, F. Diseases of cashew nut plants Anacardium occidentale L. Crop Protection Goujon, P. Hammed, L. Cashew nuts and production development in Nigeria. American-Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research 3: Hockings, K. Differential utilization of cashew, a low-conflict crop by sympatric humans and chimpanzees. Oryx Jaffee, S. Johnson, D. The botany, origin and spread of the cashew Anacardium occidentale L.

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Journal of Plantation Crops 1: Lea, J. Report, Lundy, B. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment Orwa, C.

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Agroforestry database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4. Papademetriou, M. Integrated production practices of cashew in Asia. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. Sardinha, R. Sousa, J.