THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a bid to revive the ailing cashew sector, the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has come out with a revival package which proposes short, medium and long-term strategies. The revival package which is based on the two broad plans of reducing the cost of production and increasing the domestic production of raw cashew nuts (RCN) also proposes the package will have to be implemented by both the state and Central governments.
“The abnormal raw nut price increase and limited bank facility have become a constraint for small-scale cashew processors to procure RCN,” said R K Bhoodes, chairman, CEPCI, at a press meet here on Tuesday. “With limited finance decreasing the production, the interest burden of small and medium-level processors has increased substantially and they might finally end up in bankruptcy. If the crisis is unaddressed, it will lead to the total collapse of the industry.”
One of the important demands, pitched by CEPCI in its revival package, was to declare the cashew industry as sick by the state government. While forwarding the suggestion to the state government to conceptualise a new credit guarantee organisation in line with the CGTSME at the Center, CEPCI also demanded the need to send a representation by the state to the Centre asking it to fully withdraw import duty. According to Bhoodes, considering the crisis in the cashew sector, the Central government might have to consider the possibility of announcing a special economic package for the cashew sector. He added the Centre should also weigh the possibility of banning or restricting the import of low-quality cashew kernels. “We will consider the aspect of the handover of the revival package to the Prime Minister, Union Finance and Commerce Ministers and to the Chief Minister in a time-bound manner,” said Bhoodes.
At the same time, in data presented along with the revival package, CEPCI claimed out of the 824 registered factories, 700 had to down its shutters, which further left 2.50 lakh workers jobless. While saying almost 60 entrepreneurs were notified as non-performing assets and the loans of around 100 processors are marked as stressed loans by banks, CEPCI added the workers were also being denied ESI facilities due to lack of working days due to non-operation of factories. The cashew industry is looking towards a meeting on April 27 in which the representatives of various banking institutions, trade union representatives and industrialists will attend.