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  • Koraput farmers seek GI tag for cashew nut

    Dec 20th, 2015

    Cashew nut producers of Odisha have demanded Geographical Indication (GI) status for Jeypore cashew produced in Koraput district. Odisha is the third largest producer of cashew nuts with an annual production capacity of around 1 lakh metric tonne (MT) per annum from 1.80 lakh hectares.

    Koraput's cashew nuts are one of the finest in the world. But because of poor promotion and export facilities, the high quality nuts are not getting marketed properly. "If the Koraput nuts get GI status then they can be differentiated from similar competing products and will earn a reputation for their indigenous nature," said Rajendra Sabat, president of the Odisha Cashew Processors' Association.

    The association made the demand for the GI status at the Odi Cashew Meet, a national convention of cashew processors, here on Saturday.

    A GI recognition lends a distinct identity to a product as belonging to a particular area with characteristics attributed to that place. The product earns reputation for its long-standing association with the region or the natural advantages of the region (such as soil quality and climatic conditions) or a combination of both.

    There are over 350 cashew processors in the state producing around 85,000 lakh MT with an annual turnover of more than Rs 15,000 crore a year. However, the cashew industry in the state is facing several problems like shortage of raw materials, lack of export facilities, non-disposal of old trees and traditional method of cultivation.

    Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy said, "The state government has decided to provide more land on lease to cashew farmers for more than 20 years so that it can be a profitable venture for them. Besides, attempts should also be made to produce various by-products."

    The cashew processors also suggested the nut be included in the midday meals in schools as in Karnataka as they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Nutritionally, cashew nuts are on a par with milk, eggs and meat. They contain protein (21%), fat (47%), carbohydrates (22%), iron (5%) and other minerals in smal quantities. The most prominent vitamins in cashew are Vitamin A, D and E. "It should be given to children in midday meals in the form 'chhatua' (nutrition powder)," said one of the leading cashew processors, Ramesh Jami.