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Relief to ailing cashew sector

JANUARY 03, 2020

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) suspending the import of borma (semi-finished) kernels will definitely offer some relief to ailing cashew sector, said officials of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) at a press meet.

The import misusing Advance Authorisation Scheme has been one big challenge for the sector, mainly affecting small and mid-level processors.

The scheme allows duty-free imports if they are part of a product going to be exported. “Exploiting the ad hoc norms approved in July 2018 for the export of cashew kernels, borma kernels worth around ₹500 crore have landed in Indian ports so far. Four lakh kg of borma kernels were imported during last month alone,” said CEPCI vice chairman Abdul Salam.

Major threat

The inflow of semi-finished kernels from countries like Vietnam, Ivory Coast and Mozambique has been posing a major threat to the prospects of domestic market and the council feels the latest development will give a new lease of life to cashew sector.

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In July 2019 DGFT had issued another notification hiking the import price for broken cashew to ₹680 per kg from ₹288 and that of whole cashew to ₹720 per kg from ₹400. This new policy prohibiting the imports below these prices had helped the industry, but then traders resorted to the loopholes in Advance Authorisation Scheme to bring in consignments of shelled and unpeeled kernels.

This cashew is later re-processed and released to the market and it requires only minimal manpower for processing. “CEPCI had appealed to the government several times regarding the issue and we welcome the new notification. Curbing the practice will definitely strengthen the industry and open more markets,” said R.K. Bhoodesh, former chairman.

Vexing problem

At the same time processors argue that none of the recent changes are capable of addressing the issue of misdeclared shipments reaching Indian ports. During the past few months tonnes of broken kernels have landed in India under various Harmonised System Nomenclature (HSN) codes including those for animal fodder and agricultural rejects. Though it was brought to notice of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and many consignments were sized, the practice still continues.

Source:https://www.thehindu.com/