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  • Election process delays auction of cashew zones in Goa 03/28/2022

    Mar 28th, 2022

    After a delayed start to the crushing of cashew apples earlier this month owing to late fruiting of trees, the excise department’s process to auction cashew zones has also been deferred following the assembly elections held in February. The auction is expected to be completed by the end of the month, an official said. Like other departments, staff from the excise department were drawn for election duties even as the auctioning of zones has to be completed within a specific time. However, such delays lead to revenue loss. Over the past few years, the excise department faced difficulties in auctioning cashew zones, and as much as 30 to 40% of these zones remain unauctioned annually owing to poor response from bidders. Auctioning is an annual feature that has to be completed within a specific period, which in turn allow successful bidders to harvest the yield from February. “When auctioning is delayed for any reason, bidders are not in position to benefit in entirety even if the crop is good. Anyway, cashew as well as mango crops have been hit this season. Thus, it comes as no surprise that that the number of zones with no takers is high,” he said. If the department does not complete the auctioning in time, the exercise will remain a mere ritual. The government’s earnings from auctioning of zones has dropped significantly over the years, the official said. Every season, 1,500 to 1,600 zones are offered for auctioning, but several in Bicholim, Sattari and Canacona talukas have no takers. Zones remain unauctioned for various reasons, the most important being non-availability of labourers. Similar to other sectors, the state’s dependence on workers from other states to collect cashew apples and associated jobs have also increased over the years. Crushing has been mechanised, however, cashew apples have to be collected manually, and the baskets are carried on head. “Most use motorbikes to transport the baskets from the collection point to crushing site, yet there are some areas where bikes cannot travel. It’s a tough job and unless you have people to do that, bidding for a cashew orchard is of no use,” the officer said.