Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • New strategy to revive cashew sector 05/02/2023

    May 2nd, 2023

    The Industries department has come up with a multi-pronged strategy to help the cashew sector tide over its current crisis and become a major foreign exchange once again. Apart from providing necessary support to private processors, the department plans to sign memoranda of understanding (MoU) with cashew producing countries and introduce mechanisation in a phased manner to maximise production and profit. “Currently the State government has taken up the responsibility of Provident Fund (PF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) contributions of labourers working in private factories. It’s for the first time a government is offering such an assistance to the private sector to sustain an industry and protect its labourers. The Kerala Cashew Board has initiated steps to procure raw cashew nuts through the governments of African countries cultivating cashew. As part of the recently announced ₹37-crore package, private processors were offered a scheme to close their loans by paying 50% of the principal. Reviving the sector is a challenge, but we are going forward with a solid plan,” Industries Minister P. Rajeev told The Hindu. Kerala Brand In the initial phase, partial mechanisation will be implemented since cashew is a labour-intensive industry employing a large number of women. “It will be implemented to maximise production without affecting the livelihood of labourers,” said the Minister. Women peeling cashew nuts at a processing unit in Kollam. Women peeling cashew nuts at a processing unit in Kollam. | Photo Credit: C. SURESHKUMAR While mechanisation is essential for competing in the global market, the job of all current labourers will be protected. Since very few youngsters are joining the industry, the authorities expect the process to be less problematic in the future. The department also plans to launch various products under the brand of Kerala Cashew and drum-roasted kernels processed in the traditional style will be marketed as a premium signature product from the State. MoU with Cote d’Ivoire Since procurement-related issues and the shortage of the raw material had been bogging down the industry for some time, the Kerala Cashew Board has inked an agreement with the Cotton and Cashew Council, Government of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). “This will help us procure high quality raw material at reasonable rates. When we are directly dealing with government agencies we can avoid the involvement of middlemen. Talks are also on with the Tanzanian government and we expect a positive response. While the tie-up with cashew producing countries will make the procurement process more hassle-free, it will also ensure optimal results,” said A. Alexander, chairman, Kerala Cashew Board.