Cashew imports hit domestic industry

Written by RajeshRavi | Kochi | Updated: Oct 5 2012, 06:49am hrs
Increasing import of cashew kernels is hurting the domestic industry. India is the world's largest consumer of cashew nuts with trade estimates of consumption ranging from 170,000 to 190,000 tonne. It is also one of the largest processor and exporter of cashew kernels.

It has come to our notice that there is a rampant under invoiced import of broken and pieces cashew kernels. This leads to considerable revenue loss by way of imports duty for the government besides affecting the domestic cashew processors adversely, K Sasi Varma, executive director and secretary of Cashew Export Promotion Council (CEPC) said.

Indian traders are concerned over the development, he added.

Import of cashew kernels attracts a tariff of 39.6%. CEPC sources said during the April 2011 to February 2012, over 2,000 tonnes of kernels landed in India invoiced in the range of R69-125 per kg, whereas, most-sought after grade of W320 was sold at R300- 400 per kg in the wholesale market.

Most of our competitors are export oriented and dont have a vibrant domestic market. It is reported that some consignments have come in guise of animal feed stock. Such malpractices would ruin our domestic processing industry and affect the employment of lakhs of women workers currently employed by the cashew industry, Pratap Nair of Vijayalakshmi Cashews, one of the oldest and largest cashew-exporting houses, said.

According to a report on the global cashew industry, India was the prominent supplier of nuts to the US market and commanded 50-60% of the market share. However, Indian exports have been declining in the past 6-7 years due to intense competition from Vietnam. More than 10 lakh workers are employed in the cashew industry and the domestic production of cashew come to 6-7 lakh tonne. India exported 131,760 tonne of cashew kernels valued at Rs 4,391 crore during the last FY, which is 24.6 % increase in volume compared with that of 2010-11.