Cashew farmers from Sanguem have urged the government to fix the minimum base rate for cashew seeds at Rs 200 per kilogram as against the present rate of Rs 123 per kilogram, offered by Goa Bhagyatdar outlets across the State. Farmer Milton Dias said that the present rate is fairly low for raw cashew nuts as compared to the price of Rs 600 to 700 per kilogram of roasted and fried cashew nuts. Dias pointed out that the collection of raw cashew nuts is a high-cost undertaking, given the labour and other costs involved. “The cost of labour is increasing every year, as well as the cost of cleaning the cashew plantation. However, the price for cashew nuts unfortunately is on a decreasing trend over the last few years,” complained the farmers. “Last year, when the season had just started, the rate per kilogram of raw cashew nuts was fixed at Rs 134. However, this year it has fallen to Rs 123 per kg, which is quite hard to believe,” said farmer Anand Gaonkar. Cashew farmers have to struggle on a daily basis to collect the fallen apples from the cashew plantations and then separate the fruits from the seeds using manual labour which is an expensive proposition, claimed Gaonkar. At the very initial stage, farmers rush to sell their cashew nuts to Bhagyatdar outlets, as it is during this time they incur expenses in cleaning the cashew grove and need money to pay their landlords. The cashew farmers tend to lose a substantial amount of revenue by selling their cashew nuts cheap in the initial stages. The farmers have urged the government to come out with a solution to increase the buying rate, to avoid the exploitation of cashew farmers and help them earn a good living for all the toil they put into their plantations.