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Neater nut processing

Mechanical methods

Although Sri Lankans and Indians still process nuts by hand, mechanised processes have been introduced in other countries.

Brazilians use a semi-mechanised process for shelling nuts that involves a pair of knives, each shaped like half a nut. A foot-operated lever brings the knives together, cutting all around the shell and leaving the kernel untouched. One person cuts the nuts, while another separates the kernel. Together they can process about 15kg per day.

Chain-fed systems and centrifugal shellers are also in use. Although there are disadvantages to both - the chain-fed sheller can only process larger nuts, while the centrifugal sheller requires cashews to be graded by size - the percentage of whole kernels they produce can be as high as 75 per cent.

Sri Lankan women have tried using mechanical systems to process cashews, but have always returned to the more sociable and locally-available methods.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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