Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), as a short-term measure, has urged the Government to impose a complete ban or imposition of 100 percent duty with increased MIP as well as inclusion of cashew husk imports under the negative list. Imports during April-December 2017 were over five lakh tonnes (lt) valued at ₹7,325 crore.
RK Bhoodes, Chairman, CEPCI, informed that the import duty on raw cashew nuts should be brought back to zero percent as earlier to help small non-exporting units. Such gestures should be continued till self-sufficiency is attained in domestic production. Suggesting mechanization and automation as a long-term solution, the Council pointed out that this was the reason Vietnam was able to procure raw cashew nuts at high price. The mechanized units process 80 kg cashew for ₹1,300-1,500 while manual units do it at ₹3,000-4,000. The government should promote mechanization by extending soft loans that will help in scaling up production and open more job opportunities.
The domestic cashew industry had weathered Vietnamese competition in 2014 -15 on its own strength. But consequent to the ASEAN agreement, low quality broken kernels are finding their way into the domestic market, broken kernels are mixed in husk and smuggled in, and HS Code of Raw Cashew is used to import at low duty by traders, says India’s cashew promotion body. Import of inferior cashew kernels from Vietnam have to be stopped and policy loopholes plugged to protect the ailing domestic cashew industry. .
These issues have been highlighted in the revival package sought by the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) to the Centre for the resurgence of the crisis-ridden industry.
The revival package also emphasized the need for a special economic package and reinstating the five per cent export incentives to bring in additional operational capital.
Cashew plantations have to be promoted across the country to reach self-sufficiency in raw material. The raw cashew production in India is 7 lakh tonnes against the requirement of 1.6 lakh tonnes inviting an import of 9 lakh tonnes. CEPCI cited this as the main reason for the present crisis of the industry.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi