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  • ‘Drop’ in cashew yield worries Bicholim farmers

    Apr 2nd, 2018

    Farmers in Bicholim are a worried lot as they feel that the cashew yield this season has dropped considerably as compared to the last year. The farmers expect at least a 20 per cent drop in the cashew produce. While some of the farmers opined that the cashew crop does not look as good as last year, however, it could make a turnaround from the poor yield in the months of April or May. In Bicholim taluka about 7000 hectares of land was brought under the cashew plantation. Under the cashew expansion scheme, farmers this year have brought in about 15 hectares of land under cultivation of the cashew crop. The villages in Bicholim taluka where cashew cultivation is carried out include Latambarsem, Sal, Kudchire, Van-Mavlinge, Mayem, Pilgaon, Narva, Mencurem, Vadawal, Advalpal, Kudne and Vathadev-Vhavti. According to Bicholim Zonal Agriculture Officer (ZAO) Pradeep Malik, the seasonal cashew yield in Bicholim is about 4,200 tonne, but this year it is likely to drop by over 20 per cent. Farmers have been venturing into cashew graft plantation with varieties such as Vengurla-4, Vengurla-7 and Vengurla-8 being introduced this season. However most of the plantation comprise of Goan varieties, said Malik. Malik further said that the farmers are shying away from rejuvenating high yielding varieties and this is the reason why the cashew yield has remained stagnant. According to the ZAO, the likely drop in yield is due to adverse weather conditions during February-March. If weather improves by April or May with some light showers the local produce of the cashew crop could improve. Ashok Savaikar, a farmer from Mavlinge-Bicholim, who is a graduate in agriculture, said that this year the yield of cashew and nuts have dropped, however everything depends on the weather in April or May. He further opined that the cashew fruit is still at the ripening stage in most of the villages and if the monsoon is delayed, then a better cashew crop can be expected. Ramakant Matonkar from Vathadev-Bicholim said that it is too early to say that the cashew produce is poor this season, because if there are some light showers during mid-April then it could translate into a better produce. Mahadev Govenkar, a resident of Vhavti-Vathadev, who owns a cashew plantation, said that the bad weather is the main reason for the poor cashew crop and with the season coming to an end, there are no hopes for a better yield. Govekar further said that since there is insufficient quantity of cashew apples this year to make Feni, he has been forced to buy cashew apples from Maharashtra to meet the demand. Pradeep Sawant, a Feni distiller, said that there is a considerable drop in the cashew produce this season in Bicholim taluka. Sawant said that he had to depend on Dodamarg and across the border of Maharashtra for supply of the cashew fruit in order to produce Feni. This situation would certainly affect our business, he said.