Colour offset lithograph, DNPP, Maputo
Thought to have arrived from Brazil with Portuguese mariners in the late 16th century, cashew is mainly grown by Mozambican peasant farmers, who associate it with abundance. In the 1960s Mozambique produced half the world’s supply and had its own processing industry. After the Portuguese exodus in 1975, the industry survived with state assistance, so Frelimo’s exhortation to private growers to harvest their nuts implied the promise of socialist plenty. Cashew remained the new nation-state’s biggest export until 1982, but production faltered during the Sixteen Years War (1976-1992), as the opposition group Renamo devastated rural areas.