Kochi: The commerce ministry has approached the finance ministry to seek a grant of around $2 million (Rs7.86 crore) as the Centre’s contribution towards a proposed Global Cashew Alliance, aimed at giving a much-needed boost to the domestic cashew industry.
With 837,000ha under cultivation, India accounts for almost one-fourth of cultivatable land for cashews globally, but, when it comes to production, the country’s performance is poor.
By producing 550,000 tonnes, India’s share in global cashew output is just 19%. In contrast, Vietnam, with 348,000ha under cultivation, produces at least 960,000 tonnes of cashew. The country produces 2.8 tonnes per ha, while the average cashew yield in India is 663 kg per ha.
Three leading cashew producing nations—India, Vietnam and Brazil—signed a memorandum of understanding in April to form the alliance on the lines of the International Pepper Community and the International Coffee Organization, but the body has not yet been formed.
According to Walter D’Souza, former chairperson of the Cashew Export Promotion Council, the alliance is likely to take shape soon. The alliance is not a producers’ lobby and its main objective is to jointly promote consumption of cashew across the globe, says D’Souza.
“The industry must ensure that there is no production-consumption mismatch,” he said. “It is difficult for any single country to take up this promotion and hence the move to have a global body.”
“As the largest producer, processor and importer of cashew in the world and also the largest exporter of cashew kernels, India must take a leading role in this initiative,” says Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for commerce.
Indian cashew farmers get a remuneration of around $1,000 a tonne, which is higher than what their counterparts in Brazil and Vietnam get. In Brazil, the price is around $550 and, in Vietnam, around $700.