Cashew Export Promotion Council of India ambitious plan for automation in Kerala’s cashew industry

OLLAM: The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has unveiled its ‘Mission 2020’ strategic business plan, triggering a major overhaul in the state’s labour-oriented sector.The plan, which supports mechanisation and automation in the industry, claims to achieve its targets through ‘zero job losses’ and, ironically, guarantees creation of additional job opportunities.According to CEPCI chairman P Sundaran, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has granted Rs 60 crore as support. He added the demand for granting a special Rs 1,500-crore package to revive the cashew industry is also under the ministry’s ‘active consideration’.

“Our Medium Term Framework (2017-20) Scheme, also Mission 2020, envisages an export turnover of $1.2 bn and an additional two-lakh employment opportunities in three years’ time. We hope it will bring positive changes to the crisis-ridden cashew sector,” Sundaran told a press meet here on Saturday.
He said the project comprised three key points — strategic business plan, special economic package to the cashew industry and a roadmap to produce 20 lakh metric tonnes raw cashew nut by 2025.

“It was based on our repeated demands the Centre increased the export incentive to five percent and provided us with the assurance that the five-per cent import duty on raw cashew nuts will be lifted. Now we hope the ministry will accept our recommendations on protecting the domestic industry by controlling imports of cashew kernels and attaining self-sufficiency in raw-nuts production,” said Sundaran.According to CEPCI officers, the strategic plan was prepared on the basis of a suggestion pitched by Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu at the Kaju India Meet at Goa.

Fresh faces,  new offices
Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) Executive Director S Kannan said to expand the scope, operation and better functioning of the body, the Centre has approved its proposal to accommodate new members as well as opening offices in other parts of the country. Kannan added as per the new norms, in addition to manufacturers, merchants or traders will also be permitted to become an associate member.