Indian Cashew industry may be hit by Goods and Services Tax

KOCHI: Higher GST for cashew may hit its domestic consumption at a time when the processing companies are looking to boost local sales with exports becoming increasingly economically unviable due to the high cost of imported raw nuts.

The tax for cashew nut has been raised to 12 per cent from 5 per cent. For roasted cashew nuts, it is still higher at 18 per cent. “We had requested the Commerce Ministry as well as the GST council to maintain it at 5 per cent considering that it is a traditional industry employing around 10 lakh workers, the majority of them women, across the country,” said P Sundaran, chairman of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India.

India, incidentally, has become the largest cashew consuming country with annual sales of 3 lakh tonnes that is growing annually at 5 per cent. In comparison, the exports are around 1 lakh tonnes. Moreover, the price ranging from Rs 800 to 1000 per kg in the local market is higher than the export price.

“They have clubbed cashew along with other tree nuts like almonds, pistachio etc, which are imported mostly. The cashew industry, on the other hand, has a social commitment,” he said. Over 60 per cent of the raw cashew for processing are imported into the country.