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  • Cashew sector seeks special package

    Sep 22nd, 2016

    The Cashew Export Promotion Council (CEPC) has requested the Centre to issue directives to banks directing them to grant special economic packages to the cashew industry.The Council has, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, proposed that banks allow time for cashew factories to repay loans, in instalments.

    Five-point plan

    Other requests pertained to providing relaxations in non-performing asset rules to avoid classifying cashew industry loans; withdrawing moves to freeze/takeover of collateral property/stocks; converting eroded working capital loans into term loans repayable over the long term; and fresh low interest loans for raw nut procurement and automation and mechanisation.

    Separately, the Council has submitted to the Centre a five-point plan to reverse what it called the alarming downward trend in exports and help revive “a once prosperous industry that provided employment to one million rural workers, mainly women”.

    Here, the Council has sought the intervention of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, according to P Sundaran, Chairman, CEPC.

    Import duty

    The newly-introduced import duty has hit the industry hard, Sundaran said. Per the new norms, 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. Slashing of export incentives have added to the drastic fall in exports. “While the present Trade Policy gives priority to industries that 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 has been subjected to a cut in export incentives.”

    Waiver sought

    The Council also asked for a waiver of quantity norms on the Standard Input-Output Norms since “it is next to impossible to achieve a 25 per cent out-turn target”.

    It requested permission for processing raw nuts unhindered in an exporter-friendly atmosphere as well as for trading of export-quality grades of kernels to help exporters fulfil their commitments.The Council also mentioned difficulties and delays in obtaining Advance Authorisation from many ports, even after complying with all the specified procedural formalities.