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  • State to establish Cashew Board in Kollam

    May 23rd, 2017

    The government has decided to constitute a Cashew Board to resolve the problems dogging the traditional industry, Minister for Cashew Industries J. Mercykutty Amma informed the Assembly on Tuesday. Replying to the notice for an adjournment motion moved by P.T. Thomas and others on the crisis in the cashew sector, she said the proposed commodities board would be based in Kollam and function as a special purpose vehicle to protect the interests of the industry as well as workers.

    The State government, she told the House, had decided to set up the board after repeated attempts to persuade the Centre to constitute a national- level body had failed to yield results.The Opposition UDF staged a walkout alleging that the government had failed to resolve the crisis in the cashew sector.Highlighting the poor availability of raw cashew for the domestic industry, the Minister said the proposed board would function as a regulatory body to ensure continuous supply of raw material.

    Cashew factories in the private sector had come forward to support this initiative. The government had also initiated talks with the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India and banks to find a solution to the issues in the sector.The Minister said efforts were on to promote domestic cashew plantation to reduce the dependence on foreign suppliers. A new bush variety of cashew promising better yield would be launched in September.

    Countering the Opposition charges, she said the government had taken the initiative to reopen 40 public sector factories three months after the LDF assumed power in Kerala.Of the 894 factories in the private sector, 428 had since resumed operations. The government, she said, had also ensured a buffer stock of 5,000 tonnes of raw cashew to keep the units operational till the Onam festival season.Earlier, moving the motion, Mr. Thomas said the government had done little to address the crisis that had gripped the sector.

    “Rendered jobless, lakhs of workers are on the verge of starvation,” he said, alleging that the government had failed to deliver on its commitment to promote cashew cultivation, ensure minimum wages and bring out a cashew policy.Urging the government to take over the cashew factories that had downed shutters, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the public sector units in the cashew sector had become synonymous with corruption and inefficiency. He said the corruption in procurement of raw cashew and selection of a quality certification agency was largely to blame for the crisis.The Opposition members later staged a walkout after the Speaker turned down their demand for a discussion on the issue.