Achal – HAND IN HAND partner from India


Organic and fair-trade cashew kernels from a model company
The Indian West coast is the place where Rapunzel procures its fair-trade organic cashew kernels. There, the family company Achal Industries cooperates with numerous farmers and processes the cashew kernels. Our HAND IN HAND partner Achal is a genuine model company with an extraordinary social commitment. 
Hand in Hand Logo
"My job at Achal is peeling the organic cashew kernels. I enjoy working here, because the company provides a safe job for me", confirms Padmavathi. She is one of nearly 800 fully employed staff in the family-run processing company. Achal buys best-quality cashew nuts from approximately 6,000 organic peasants and takes its responsibility for the supply chain very seriously. 

Rapunzel has been sourcing cashew kernels from Achal already since 1996 and in 2004, Achal became a HAND IN HAND partner. HAND IN HAND stands for consistent organic cultivation, high social standards and guaranteed fair-trade - from the cashew tree all the way to the consumption of the Cashew kernels.  

Cashew Grafik
Achal in brief
 
  • Family company that was founded in 1981, processing of cashew kernels, located in Southwest India
  • Cooperation with 6,000 peasant families in Goa and Maharashtra
  • Organically certified since 1996; start of the cooperation with Rapunzel
  • HAND IN HAND partner since 2004
 Giridhar Prabhu,  managing director of Achal, takes the responsibility for the supply chain serious
Giridhar Prabhu, managing director of Achal, takes the responsibility for the supply chain serious

A very special tropical nut

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Giridhar Prabhu, owner of the the processing company Achal Industries, is convinced that there is still a lot to learn about the history of cashew nuts. 

What is known for sure is that the Portuguese where the first Europeans who "discovered" the cashew tree in Brazil. Still in the 16th century, they introduced the cashew tree to other continents - also to India. The deep root system of the cashew tree was used to prevent erosion. 
Each pseudo-fruit has only one single cashew nut
Each pseudo-fruit has only one single cashew nut
It took quite some time until people became interested in the curious fruit of the tropical tree  - more precisely in the nut which is actually the cashew seed. The cashew seed grows, always only one per fruit, as a small, kidney-shaped extension on the outside of the so-called cashew apple.

Today, peasant families cultivate organic cashew trees in the federal states of Goa and Maharashtra in Western India next to other trees that are used as building material, as fire wood or for the preservation of biodiversity. The main harvest time for the cashew nuts is from March until May. 
The peasant families wait until the mature cashew apples fall from the trees. Next, they separate the nutrient-rich kernel from the apple. The collected kernels are dried in the sun and finally picked up by Achal for further processing.

The farmers process the cashew apples for their own use. The tart, quickly perishable pseudo-fruit can be used to make drinks, jam or chutney.
 
In the long run, the farmers profit from a greater biodiversity
In the long run, the farmers profit from a greater biodiversity

Pioneer for cashew processing

Achal Industries processes the raw organic cashew kernels in its processing plants in Mangalore in the federal state of Karnataka and in Turkewadi in Maharahstra. in the first step, the kernels are dried for some more time in the sun. Next, they are heated in a steam bath that softens the outer skin. Once the skin has been softened, the kernels can be opened without hurting the core. Then, the kernels are mechanically cracked and slightly dried in a hot air chamber. The core skin gets removed and the kernels are sorted according to size and packaged for transport.
 
Steam treatment has a considerable advantage compared with the alternative, traditional roasting method: most of the aggressive acidic substances that are found between the core skin and the shell of the cashew nuts are deactivated by heat. In the traditional roasting process, these substances form toxic fumes. Heating with steam is a much more controlled process: no toxic fumes are formed and the acids in the core skin are eliminated at the same time. Achal was the first company in the region with a modern processing plant. Over the years, Achal continuously developed the processing technology and improved the occuptional safety for its workers. 
Drying of the cashew kernels at Achal
Drying of the cashew kernels at Achal
Achal combines clean technology with valuable manual labor
Achal combines clean technology with valuable manual labor
Other work steps, however, like the peeling process, are deliverately done manually in order to ensure the high quality of Achal cashew kernels. "At Achal, we pay attention to a perfect combination of clean technology and genuine manual labor", emphasizes company owner Giridhar Prabhu. "This way, we can ensure the high quality of our cashew kernels for our customers. Nothing gets wasted. Every byproduct from a processing step has its value and its benefit." 
Female workers are responsible for the excellent quality of the peeled cashew kernels
Female workers are responsible for the excellent quality of the peeled cashew kernels

This is how fair-trade cashew nut production works

The HAND IN HAND program is good for all the people who participate in the supply chain. In addition to fair prices, long-term and reliable cooperation and purchase guarantees, the peasant families also profit from fair-trade through training classes for organic cultivation and for the preservation of biodiversity. Moreover, the HAND IN HAND bonus gives the peasant families better access to medicinal services in the form of "medical camps". 

HAND IN HAND also provides job security to the Achal workers. 
The social services that Achal Industries provide by far exceed legal requirements. The workers are employed year-round and can count on maternity leave, paid vacation, paid sick days, health insurance and an additional pension insurance that is provided by the company. 

A free-of-charge breakfast, a company-operated bus service, a company kindergarten as well as scholarships and book fees for their children further support the workers. 
 
The femal workers appreciate the Achal company kindergarten
The femal workers appreciate the Achal company kindergarten

25 years of partnership

The cooperation between Rapunzel and Achal celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021. On occasion of this long-term partnership, the two partners initiated a special campaign. For each jumbo package of anniversary cashew kernels, they donate 25 cent to two projects in India - in addition to the HAND IN HAND bonus.

In this way, Achal supports the installation of school gardes and finances teachers for environmental education programs. The schoolchildren in turn develop a fascination for organic agriculture, for a healthy and sustainable diet and for environmental protection.
Early environmental education is an important contribution for social transformation. 

In order to increase the biodiversity in cashew plantations, Achal supports the peasant families with tree seedlings and with training on mixed cultivation. These measures improve erosion protection, they facilitate plant health and strengthen the robustness of the plantations. At the same time, they improve soil fertility. This helps nature - and secures the farmers a long-term income from cashew nut cultivation.  
School gardens support environmental education
School gardens support environmental education

HAND IN HAND organic cashew products



Cashew butter HAND IN HAND
Cashew butter HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels crushed HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels crushed HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels Jumbo HAND IN HAND
Cashew kernels Jumbo HAND IN HAND

Recipes with HAND IN HAND organic cashew products


Energy balls with cashew, dates, cacao and coconut
Energy balls with cashew, dates, cacao and coconut
Russian chocolate cheescake, vegan
Russian chocolate cheescake, vegan
Vegan a. low carb mushroom spinach cauliflower rice
Vegan a. low carb mushroom spinach cauliflower rice
Carrot Salad with Asian Ginger Dressing
Carrot Salad with Asian Ginger Dressing
Cashew >cheese< with wild herbs
Cashew >cheese< with wild herbs
Quinoa Patty vegan
Quinoa Patty vegan
Creamy potato salad with vegan mayo
Creamy potato salad with vegan mayo
Alkaline celery root ginger soup with tumeric
Alkaline celery root ginger soup with tumeric
Red cabbage spice soup with smoked black bread chip
Red cabbage spice soup with smoked black bread chip
Halloween Hokkaido filled with beluga lentils and smoked tofu
Halloween Hokkaido filled with beluga lentils and smoked tofu
Buckwheat Spaghetti - with alkaline vegetable cashew sauce
Buckwheat Spaghetti - with alkaline vegetable cashew sauce
Fennel orange salad with a roasted seed mix
Fennel orange salad with a roasted seed mix
RAPUNZEL NATURKOST GmbH
Rapunzelstraße 1, D - 87764 Legau
Telefon: +49 (0) 8330 / 529 - 0
Telefax: +49 (0) 8330 / 529 - 1188
E-Mail: info@rapunzel.de
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RAPUNZEL NATURKOST GmbH
Rapunzelstraße 1, D - 87764 Legau
Telefon: +49 (0) 8330 / 529 - 0
Telefax: +49 (0) 8330 / 529 - 1188
E-Mail: info@rapunzel.de