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  • Govt sets up Cashew Board

    Oct 10th, 2017

    The State government has set up a Cashew Board as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of the traditional cashew industry and promotion of exports.The primary mandate of the board would be to ensure adequate procurement of raw nuts for the industry in Kerala from producer countries, Minister for Cashew Development J. Mercykutty Amma told reporters here on Tuesday.

    She said the Kerala government had decided to set up the commodity board after successive governments at the Centre had failed to respond to repeated pleas from the State. The registration process had been completed and the board would be based at Kollam, the heartland of cashew industry in Kerala.The Minister said the idea of an SPV had been mooted at the talks held by the government with representatives of the Reserve Bank of India and nationalised banks to find a solution to the crisis in the cashew sector. “Though the cashew factories have resumed operations, they are hamstrung by the shortage and spiralling price of raw material.”

    Direct procurement

    Pointing out that the price of raw cashew had gone up by 80% over the last two years, she said the board was expected to ensure adequate procurement to ensure that the factories functioned at least 200 days per year.The Minister said the State was working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs to finalise an arrangement for direct procurement of raw nuts from producer countries. Efforts were on to organise discussions with ambassadors of several countries.

    An agreement for direct import of nuts from Tanzania was expected soon and a similar pact would be worked out with Ivory Coast by January, she added. The newly constituted Cashew Board would also explore means to boost the export potential of cashew processed in Kerala. A campaign would be launched to promote the Kollam brand of traditional processed cashew.The Minister said the government was also looking at options to promote cashew plantations in Kerala. As many as 379 hectares had been brought under cashew cultivation this year by the government and private planters were coming forward to join the initiative, she added.

    Former Taxes Secretary P. Marapandian has been appointed Chairman and Managing Director of the Cashew Board. The office facility of the board at Kollam would be inaugurated soon, the Minister said.