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  • Absence of processing unit hurts cashew nut growers 05/16/2023

    May 16th, 2023

    In absence of a processing plant in the district, cashew nut farmers are forced to sell their produce to middlemen at throwaway prices.Taking advantage of the situation, the middlemen are exploiting a large number of cashew nut growers in the coastal pockets of Kendrapara. At least 3,000 farmers of the district eke out a living from cashew trees. President of the district unit of Krusak Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said some traders of Ganjam and Puri have engaged middlemen to buy and supply cashew nuts from far-flung areas. The middlemen are buying a significant portion of raw cashew nuts from Kendrapara farmers by paying only Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg. After processing the raw nuts, the traders are selling one kg of cashew for Rs 400 to Rs 500 in the market. The middlemen reportedly collect raw cashew nuts from individual farmers and supply the produce to private processors outside the district.Ranjit Haldar, a cashew nut grower of Ramnagar village in Mahakalapada block, said, “We have urged the government to set up a cashew processing plant in the district several times in the past. But all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. As a result, we are forced to sell cashew nuts to middlemen.” Sources said the situation has forced many farmers to abandon cashew nut farming despite it being a lucrative venture. Assistant director of Horticulture department, Kendrapara Pradeep Bal said the government has set up cashew processing units in Ganjam and Puri but not in the coastal district. “In view of the situation of farmers here, the department has suggested the government to set up a processing plant in Kendrapara.” Bal further said the department is providing financial help to many farmers of the coastal pockets in Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks to grow cashew nuts.“We also provide cashew saplings to farmers. The main objectives are to raise cashew plantations and provide fertilisers, manures, dips, disinfectants, fungicides and insecticides to farmers. The government has no policy regarding the MSP of cashew nuts,” he added.