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  • CEPCI requests PM for special package to save ailing Cashew sector in Kerala

    Sep 25th, 2016

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In its major effort to revive the ailing cashew sector industry in Kerala, Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has made a plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers of finance and industry to implement a special revival package with a five-point remedial plan to reverse the alarming downward trend in cashew exports. It seeks to revive a once prosperous industry that provided employment to t0 lakh rural workers, mainly women.In the representation submitted to the Prime Minister, CEPCI requests to allow a special economic package for revival of ailing cashew sector industry. It emphasises on allowing time for cashew factories to repay the loans taken from banks in instalments. The submission also seeks to provide special relaxations in non-performing asset rules to avoid classifying cashew industry loans as bad loans (NBA), restrain from moves to freeze or take over the collateral property or stocks, converting the eroded working capital loan into term loans repayable over a long term period and allowing fresh low interest loans for raw nut procurement, for automation and mechanisation of factories.In a request submitted to the Union finance minister Arun Jaitely and minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman, Kollam-based CEPCI chairman P Sundaram has outlined specific issues pertaining to the cashew industry and sought their intervention in resolving them.

    CEPCI officials told reporters here on Thursday that the five-point remedial measures suggested to the Central government to revive the cashew sector industry include, firstly Import duty imposed on raw nuts be fully rolled back with retrospective effort from March 1 this year. Second, export incentives be restored to five percent, third Standard Input output norms will have to be re-structured on prevailing value basis as quantity based norms are not viable in case of agriculture product which will may not get the target output. Fourth, processing should be allowed to be carried out unhindered to enable fulfilment of export contracts. They said compliance checks and action be taken against a processor only if he fails to meet his export obligations within the allowed time period of 18 months. Finally, exports made out of import duty-paid raw nuts, the duty drawback should be made equal to the duty paid on inputs and the same rates should be made applicable for exports from domestic raw nuts.

    The newly introduced import duty on the industry has hit the industry hard. As per the new provisions, duty free import is possible only if kernels weighing 25 per cent of the raw nuts imported and worth 15 per cent more in value are exported within 18 months. The present out-turn stands at a disheartening 12 to 18 per cent."Apart from the import duty burden, the slashing of export incentives have also led to the drastic fall in exports," said P. Sundaran. "While the present Trade Policy gives priority to industries, which are agriculture-based, labour-oriented, women-centric and export-oriented, the cashew industry which more than qualifies under all these categories, has been denied eligible benefits and subjected to a drastic cut in export incentives."Cashew exports from India declined by 40 percent as the export quantity dropped to 25,000 MT during April-August 2016 from 42,000 MT in the corresponding period last year. The CEPCI has also requested permission for processing raw nuts unhindered, in an exporter-friendly atmosphere, as well as trading of export quality grades of kernels, to enable exporters to fulfil their export commitments.