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  • Pvt. cashew units too need support: processors

    Jul 12th, 2016

    If the State government is sincere about solving the crisis gripping the cashew sector in the State, it should start thinking beyond the public-sector Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC) and the cooperative-sector Kerala Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Cooperative Society (Capex) alone, say private-sector processors.

    While appreciating the Rs.75 crore allocation in the State Budget for reopening the KSCDC factories and another Rs.25 crore for the revival of the Capex factories, the processors pointed out that more than 90 per cent of the private factories had also been lying closed for long.

    The allocations are made in the larger interests of providing work to cashew workers.

    Over 2 lakh workers

    They said that even on conservative estimates the cashew industry of the State provided employment to more than 2 lakh workers, majority of them women. Of this, the KSCDC provided employment to 12,500 workers and the Capex to about 3,000 workers. But the vast majority was in the private sector.

    Even if the KSCDC factories were reopened and Capex factories were revived, a big majority of the workers would remain jobless as the private factories were lying closed. But successive governments continued to ignore this core fact.

    The processors said that they were not asking for any monetary allocation, but there should be positive government intervention to create the right atmosphere for private cashew factories to survive in the State.

    Because of various factors, including high cost of production, cashew kernels produced in the State had become highly uncompetitive in the international markets, they said.

    The cost of raw nuts in the international markets had gone up, the Union government had slapped a 10 per cent duty on raw nut import, the State government had hiked the minimum wages of cashew workers by 35 per cent, and the processors had to pay 5 per cent tax to purchase raw nuts produced in the State.

    Stiff competition

    In the international kernel markets, processors of the State had to face stiff completion from Vietnam and other States of the country where production cost was low.

    The processors said in such a situation the State government should heed to the pleas of the sector to declare zero tax on raw nuts produced in the State, put pressure on the Union government to withdraw the import duty, rollback the wage hike to 25 per cent and promote mechanisation of the sector.

    Most private factories remaining closed for long

    ‘Cashew kernels from State have become uncompetitive in international market’

    Budgetary allocation for reopening KSCDC factories

    Source: Hindu business line.