The export of cashew kernel from India is likely to suffer further with the recent Budget imposing an import duty on raw cashew. The domestic cashew industry is already under stress with the Union government reducing export incentives from 5% to 3 % some time earlier. India produces 6-7 million tonne (mt) of raw cashew per annum and was until recently the leading supplier of kernels to the global market.
India has to import more than half of its requirement of raw cashew due to the poor productivity of its cashew plantations. Indian productivity is lower by three to four times of Vietnam’s. The Budget has imposed a 9.36% duty on the import of raw cashew nuts that comes into effect from March 1. This is the first time that raw cashew has been subjected to import duty.
“Exports are seen declining sharply as we are now less competitive compared to Vietnam. The reduction of export incentives had affected us and the new import duty will add to the burden,” Pratap Nair of Vijayalakshmi Cashews, one of the largest cashew-exporting houses, said. Higher domestic consumption of nuts also adds to the pressure on exporters, as most competitors are export-oriented and don’t have a vibrant domestic market, he said.
Data from the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India show export of kernels from April 2015 to January 2016 fell to 84,424 tonne, bringing revenue of R4,143.84 crore as against 1,00,208 tonnes, bringing in revenue worth R4,533.45 crore in the comparable period of last fiscal. The average export price from April 2014 to January 2015 was R452.60 a kg, against the average export price of R490.84 a kg from April 2015 to January 2016. Export of value-added cashew kernel fell to 4 tonne in January 2016 against 185 tonne in January 2015.