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  • Ailing cashew sector in Kerala to get a shot in the arm - with box

    Aug 1st, 2018

    The ailing cashew sector of the state which is in the doldrums owing to unavailability of raw cashew nuts (RCN) is set to get a shot in the arm as the Ministry Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare has come out with a strategy for increasing the domestic production of RCN in the country. It is learnt that the ministry is planning to unveil initiatives like the promotion of cashew cultivation, replacing unproductive cashew saplings with high-yielding hybrid varieties and others under its Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY).

    "In addition to the aforementioned initiatives we were informed that some key interventions like new plantation development programme, replanting programme of cashew, technology dissemination, transfer of technology programme and others are also on the anvil. It is expected that such initiatives will be of great help for the state's cashew sector which is in a downward spiral for some time now," said an officer with the section of Industries Department which is looking after the cashew sector.

    At the same time, Shirish K, Special Officer cum Chairman of Kerala State Agency for the Expansion of Cashew Cultivation said that if the Centre is coming out with a strategy like that the cashew sector of the state will benefit a lot from it.

    "When it comes to cashew cultivation, the state is in an expansion mode. Other than that of tying up with departments like Agriculture, Forest, Sc/ST Developments and others the agency had entered into a contract with State Farming Corporation, Plantation Corporation Limited and others. Along with that, we were also providing hybrid varieties of cashew saplings that guarantees better yield," said Shirish.

    Earlier, Cashew Minister J Mercykutty Amma had informed the Assembly that the local cashew trees will be replaced by hybrid cashew saplings developed by Kerala Agricultural University. According to her, a research is on at University's Regional Agricultural Research Station at Pilicode to develop dwarf cashew saplings that guarantee high yield.

    It was in April that the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India has come out with a revival package for the sector which proposes short, medium and long-term strategies. The revival package which is based on the two broad plans of reducing the cost of production and increasing the domestic production of RCN also proposes that the very package will have to be implemented by both the State and Central governments.

    Meanwhile, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry CR Chaudhary had informed the Lok Sabha in July that the ministry had accorded its approval for the Medium Term Framework (2017-2020) Scheme for process mechanization and automation of cashew processing units with a financial outlay of Rs 60 crore.