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  • Struggling cashew farmers of Sanguem and Quepem press govt for timely subsidies, support price hike 03/13/2024

    Mar 13th, 2024

    Cashew farmers from Sanguem and Quepem talukas are urging the government to immediately increase the minimum price for cashew nuts and release the subsidy they are eligible for. "We cannot understand why the government has reduced the purchase price of cashew nuts to Rs 111 per kg this year even though there is a huge demand for these nuts," said Carlito Martins, noting that last year, they were paid Rs120 per kg. Farmers complain that the revised price does not even cover their costs, considering the labour and other expenses involved in harvesting the nuts. Carlito, who has been engaged in cashew cultivation for over two decades, lamented that the support price for cashew nuts has been declining in recent years. "To make matters worse, this year the yield is quite poor due to adverse weather conditions during the beginning of the new year, resulting in trees not flowering properly," said Josinho D’Costa, another cashew grower from Molcornem. He added that this has led to a delay in the distillation of cashew feni in Sanguem and Quepem. "Usually, we used to begin distilling by the end of February, but this year we are not getting enough cashew juice from farmers," he said, revealing that in the past he used to set up even three distilleries, but this year the situation looks bleak. "Given the present scenario, it will take at least another fortnight for us to get sufficient juice to start distilling," he added. Farmers also expressed frustration that the government has not yet reimbursed the subsidy they were supposed to receive for the last season. Even as the current financial year is coming to an end, funds have not been released to the Agriculture Department to pay the subsidy to farmers. However, it is learned that farmers belonging to the ST community have been paid the subsidy by arranging for the necessary funds from funds allotted to the tribal community. Farmers urge the government to release funds to pay them the subsidy before the end of the current financial year. They have also called on the government to prohibit the import of cashew nuts from neighbouring States to Goa, at least for the next three months, so that Goan farmers can receive a proper price for their produce.