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  • Cashew processors find north Indian lobby a tough nut to crack

    Jul 16th, 2015

    Apart from the competition faced by the State cashew sector in the international kernel market, the industry is facing threat from a “north Indian lobby” in the raw nut markets of Africa.Cashew processors in the State, largely based here, say though the threat was there for the past two years, it has became aggressive this season and is more pronounced in the West African countries.The season is from April to August in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Benin, and Togo. Earlier, importing raw nut from these countries was a smooth affair for the processors.

    Profit potential

    Now, the lobby procures nut from plantations and hoards the commodity in warehouses there.The profit potential of the raw nut trade was a recent discovery for the lobby, which has money power and local contacts in the African countries where they had been engaged in trade for decades, the processors say.The Kollam-based processors said with the emergence of this system, the lobby was dictating the price instead of African planters. Kerala processors had strong competitors in the international market from within the country and Vietnam.These competitors are able to quote higher prices than buyers from Kerala as their cost of production is much lower due to the low processing charge.The processors said the bulk of African cashew this season was going to Vietnam.Latest statistics of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India showed that India’s raw nut import from West Africa this year dropped by 20 per cent compared to last year.While India exports around one lakh tonnes of kernel a year, Vietnam exports about two lakh tonnes. But the domestic consumption of kernel has gone up considerably in India to touch about 2.5 lakh tonnes annually.Vietnam’s annual domestic raw nut production is about five lakh tonnes but the requirement is more than 10 lakh tonnes, which is imported. To produce 3.5 lakh tonnes of kernel, India requires 16 lakh tonnes of raw nut but the domestic production is hardly eight lakh tonnes.Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh are the other major cashew processing States.

    The East African and Indonesian raw nut season is from November to March and March-April is the domestic raw nut season.