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  • Model cashew farm at open prison 06/22/2020

    Jun 22nd, 2020

    As part of the efforts to expand and promote cashew farming, 25 acres of land at the Nettukaltheri open prison will be converted into a model farm. “The project is a step towards attaining self-sufficiency in raw cashew nut (RCN) production and land will be made available in more jails,” said Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma after inaugurating the project through videoconferencing on Friday. While the cashew sector requires six lakh tonnes of raw material, Kerala’s domestic production is only 83,000 tonnes. The industry employs over three lakh skilled labourers, 80% eighty percent of them women. “We are trying to produce the minimum quantity needed to ensure them at least 200 working days,” the Minister said. The Kerala State Agency for the Expansion of Cashew Cultivation (KSACC) cultivates cashew in 39,418 hectares and the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC) has started procuring cashew apple from various sources. In a bid to encourage cashew farming, the corporation has launched an intensive drive distributing lakhs of cashew grafts prepared by the KSACC. The State now procures RCN from farms at Aralam and the Cheemeni open prison and those under the Plantation Corporation of Kerala and the Forest Development Corporation. “We have been distributing a high-yielding variety of cashew that doesn't grow very tall compared to regular cashew trees. Usually the plants will be ready for harvest by the third year,” she said. The Cashew Research Station, Madakkathara, under Kerala Agricultural University and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), will be cultivating the saplings for distribution.