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  • Budget gives jolt to cashew industry

    Apr 18th, 2016

    Cashew industry, one of the traditional industries operating in the coast from decades, has not only improved the living standards of the rural population but also has elevated their socio-economic status.

    There are over 600 factories in Karnataka of which more than 450 are in the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. Women are main workforce of these factories which has supplemented earnings in their families.

    Cashew nut picking season is from January to end of May. Cashew kernels are in high demand all over world and most factories export these kernels, especially to USA, Gulf countries, Europe and Japan.

    Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal are the prominent states which grow cashew in India. Since the total yield in India is not enough to cater the industry need, factories import cashew nuts from African countries and also from a few Asian countries. Cashews regularly imported from Ivory Coast, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, Gambia, Guinnea, Ghana, Tanzania and Indonesia.

    Walter D'Souza, former chairman of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India says : More than 12 lakh are directly or indirectly involved in cashew factories. Women account to 90% of workforce. The price of raw cashew varies according to season. This year, the price band of a kilogram of raw cashew is in the range of Rs.90- Rs 115. Our country produces seven lakh tons of raw cashew and 17 lakh tons are imported. With the imposition of 9.3% import duty by the Finance Ministry in this year's budget the factories will face severe problem.

    Thukaram Prabhu, secretary, Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers Association and managing director of MMP Cashew Industries at Mooduperar near Mangaluru says: raw cashews are dried in hot sun for a few days to remove moisture content. Then it is boiled. Later using machines, shelling is done to separate kernels. There are different types of plates in machine which separate the kernels according to their size. These kernels are dried in hot chamber. Women engage in separating, grading, packing the kernels.