Automation of cashew processing is essential to improve India’s competitiveness

PANAJI: With Goa’s contributing only 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of cashew nuts annually as compared to India’s overall production of 5,50,000 tonnes, the country requires at least 20 lakh tonnes of nuts a year to compete at the global level, said representatives of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI).

“Modernization and automation of cashew processing is essential to improve India’s competitiveness in the international trade as well as to sustain the cashew industry,” said S Kannan, executive director, CEPCI.

CEPCI will be holding the fifth edition of the Kaju India – Global Cashew Summit in Goa to look at ways in which cashew production can be increased in the country. The three-day event will be inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on September 17.

Cashew nut prices reflected a progressive rise year after year in Goa. This season, farmers in Goa struck gold as rates for cashew nuts had risen to a lucrative price. Compared to Rs 105-110 per/kg last year, raw cashew kernels this time fetched farmers Rs 160 per/kg.

The bountiful produce of the cashew crop also brought cheer to farmers as the season ended on a high. Figures shared by the agriculture department reveal that there has been an increase in production by almost 40% this time.

Despite these progressive figures, the cashew trade has been dwindling in Goa, said goa-based cashew industrialist, Suresh Zantye. He attributed the reason for the same due to lack of labour force in the state and laid stress on the need to automate processing.

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