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  • Stakeholders call for policy change to help crisis-hit cashew sector 12/15/2023

    Dec 15th, 2023

    The Centre should change its policy to save the crisis-hit cashew sector, Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC) chairman S. Jayamohan said here on Friday. He was inaugurating a seminar organised by the Federation of Cashew Processors and Exporters in connection with the Navakerala Sadas. Though it was later reduced due to persistent protests, the main reason for the collapse of the sector was the import duty on raw nuts imposed by the Centre. “The policy was introduced to exclude small and medium processors, who are now struggling with huge bank liabilities. The import duty on cashew should be completely waived and steps should be taken to ensure the availability of the raw material to keep the industry afloat,” he said. Kerala’s domestic production of raw cashew nut (RCN) can hardly meet the requirement and the State is dependent on other cashew producing countries for the raw material. “In the past, we used to procure RCN from African countries and Vietnam. But we had to face a major shortage after these countries started their own processing units. Whatever is available in market is now sold for a higher price due to the intervention of middlemen and private agencies,” he said. FCPE working president Sujin, who presided over the function, pointed out that most cashew factories in the State have downed their shutters due to the crisis. “The current situation is quite miserable where workers are denied even medical benefits due to non-fulfilment of the minimum working days under the ESI Act. The few factories that are operating have to manage all these,” he said. During the discussion held as part of the seminar, the federation demanded that the Centre change its policy and announce a special economic package to protect the industry. Restructuring of loans, ensuring availability of RCN for all factories through the Cashew Board and steps to pay the ESI share of workers were among other demands. CITU president K. Rajagopal, AITUC district secretary G. Babu, KSCDC board of directors member Suchindran, processors Muhammad Shafi, Sudhir, Muhammad Shan and bank representatives participated the discussion.