Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • Cashew prices shoot up due to lack of labour

    Jul 22nd, 2016

    Visakhapatnam: High export demand as well as rising labour costs are the two primary reasons for the dramatic three fold rise in prices of cashew (with kernel) in the past 10 years.Between 2010 and 2013, the prices hovered between Rs 3,000 for an 88 kg bag to Rs 4,000 per bag. In 2013-14, the prices were static at Rs 4,000 a bag. After cyclone Hudhud, the prices went up to Rs 8,000 per bag. This year, the prices have touched Rs 9,000 per bag.

    Cultivated on about 1,00,000 acres, cashew is produced to the tune of 6,00,000 bags of cashew with kernel per annum. Of this, 1.15 lakh is only cashewnut bags, ie 1,800 tonnes of cashewnuts per annum.However, traders say the actual production does not match these figures as most of the crop goes waste due to lack of labourers during the peak season. According to K Ram Murthy, who procures cashew and exports it to Palasa in Srikakulam and Kerala, the actual figures have come down by almost 40% in the last 6-7 years. "One of the main reasons why cashew is not being exploited to the maximum effect is chiefly because unlike ten years ago, it is hard to procure full time labourers these days. This is because most of them are now NREGS workers employed through the summer and well into the rainy season."PS Rao, a small time farmer from Uratla, said, "NREGA has become the bane of the rural economy. The work audit is a sham as most NREGA workers do not spend more than two hours on the field."NREGS workers earn Rs 120 for two hours a day of work even though they are supposed to work for 6-7 hours a day. In a cashew farm, one has to pay Rs 300 per day for a day's work along with lunch.not of much needed for the poor.....even increase the 10000 more not a problem, until unless we are able to export...Sathya NAnother farmer KV Sarma of Makkavariplame village said, "The NREGA chapter itself is flawed as works are never completed on time and neither are they totally useful to the farming community. Micro factors have not been taken into account. How can NREGA be implemented in areas which are rich in horticultural growth, where summer crops such as cashew, mango and sapotta thrive?"Challa Raju of Bheemaboyinapalem village in Makkavaripalem mandal said, "I had to procure a team of twenty workers from three different villages to work in the fields. However, much of the skilled workers are no longer available."