After reading an interesting post on the Bloomberg website entitled In-jungle-long-known-for-cocaine-a-rare-nut-is-now-all-the-rage, I would like to gather further information about the cacay or inchi tree (the species changes name according to the area of origin). A plant populating the base of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia and adjacent Amazonian lowlands.
Kahai SAS is the first Colombian company to commercialise the plant and the following video provides information on the potentials of the plant production
Information on the plant
Plant growth is rapid, and fruiting can start after four to five years. A ten-year-old tree can yield 100-250 kg of nuts per year. The nuts are easily separated from the thin shell and, when dried and roasted, can be safely stored for a long time in sealed plastic bags. They have a pleasant flavour resembling hazel nut and are eaten raw, roasted, fried or ground as a drink or sweet. Crushed nuts and milk are used to feed weaned children. The nuts contain edible oil (up to 50 percent), starch and protein, and they have a calorific value of 585 kcal per 100 g. The oil is rich in linoleic acid (34.4 percent).
The tree is also grown as a shade tree for coffee and cacao in Colombia. Oil from the shells, nuts and bark latex are used as an illuminant, while both nuts and oil are an excellent cure for pulmonary complaints and dermatitis. There seems to be good potential for development of the crop, in Colombia for example, where there is a shortfall between existing production of edible oil and domestic demand. Provenance surveys and trials are required for improved performance and to establish priority areas in the forest for genetic conservation (information excerpt from FAO website.
The plant has the potential to fulfill various tasks
- Conversion of illicit crops
- Protection of biodiversity and Promotion of sustainable development
- Complement other plantations of local farmers
- Oil use remunerative in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors
- Food and drinks production
- Bio fuel.