This short news video from France 24 shows us what’s behind the cashew nuts we casually munch on in our comfortable homes. It immediately made me think that we need to reduce our overall consumption and use less. We consume things that appear cheap, and hence not so important, even though they can have severe effects on people we don’t normally see.

Unfortunately, I can only find this video on a Facebook site, so I can’t link it properly into this page. To watch the video, follow this link (or look at the static screenshots below);

While I was watching it, I saved a number of screen shots which I’ve posted below in the order of the video, so you can get the gist of the video from these. India is the largest source of cashew nuts in the world, mainly supplying European and US demand. Removing the shells from cashew nuts is very difficult and there are acids inside the shell that badly affect the hands of the people doing it. They can’t use gloves because that slows them down. It’s very sad to see people having to work like this.

The video really emphasises to me how we can simply buy a bag of cashew nuts, take them home and enjoy them, without thinking for a moment what had to happen for us to enjoy this luxury. At the exact other end of the chain there are women essentially forced into intolerable conditions to remove the cashew nuts from the shells. They get paid very little per day (equivalent of 2-5 euros) but they say they have no choice as there’s no other work.

All this reminds me that having something cheap in our supermarkets is rarely, actually a good thing. Somewhere along the line, someone is being abused to make it cheap. See these other related articles;

What should we do now?

  1. Consume less – that’s the first thing – don’t consume as much as we do – that will help everywhere
  2. Consider where your food is coming from – if we don’t know, or if it’s from a long way away, should we really be buying it?
  3. Try buying mostly locally sourced foods
  4. Try buying only foods where you know where it came from and how it was produced
  5. Support Fairtrade options

Of all these things, “consume less and buy local” seem to be the most imperative things we can do.

Cashew Nuts – images from the France 24 video

Source is France 24 – http://www.france24.com/en/
Just click on any of the images below to see them full size.