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  • Not US, Indians are Going Nuts over Cashews

    Sep 29th, 2015

    Indians are munching cashews like nobody else in the world. The country has overtaken US as the largest consumer of cashew, making local sales more profitable than exports. Although the US continues to be the largest buyer of Indian cashew, processor-exporters are focusing more on the domestic market, particularly as the high cost of the imported raw nut has increased the cost of production for them.India produces about 8.5 lakh tonnes of raw cashew. About 3.75 lakh tonnes of kernels are produced from the total available raw nut supply of 17 lakh tonnes. "Of this, the export comes to around 1.25 lakh tonnes while the rest are consumed in India," said P Sundaran, vice-chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (Cepci). Indian cashew sells for $3.35-3.65 (Rs 221.1-240.9) per pound (0.45 kg) in the international markets, while it retails at around Rs 500 a kg in India, where it is conRs sumed in large quantities by the biscuit and confectionary industry. "In the past 10 years when the CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of cashew consump tion in India was 8.6%, it came down from 4.1% to 2% in the United States," said R K Bhoodes, chairman of Federation of Indian Cashew Industry.

    The higher cost of imported raw nut, a fall in the export incentive to 2% from 5% and increase in wages in states like Kerala have pushed up the cost of production for the cashew industry ."Raw nut prices have increased by 40% over the past year to $1,750 a tonne. Most of the factories are now going for mechanisation to cut the cost of production," Sundaran said. Cepci has organised a three-day RsKaju India Conclave' in Kochi from Wednesday , where local as well as foreign buyers and sellers wil be able to interact. This will be the fourth edition of the event and the council hopes to create more buyer interest in Indian cashews, particularly from overseas. About 500 delegates from India and 50 from overseas are expected to attend the event. Given the steady rise in consumption of cashew, the industry is making a strong case for including cashew under the ambit of plantation crop. Cashew kernel export from India touched Rs 5,545 crore in 2014-15 marketing year.But it is expected to fall in the current year, given the low global prices vis-a-vis the high import prices.