The Indian government has increased the minimum import price of broken cashew kernels by nearly 138 per cent and by 280 per cent for whole kernels.
According to a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), import price of broken cashews has been increased to Rs 680 per kg from Rs 288 per kg. Similarly, for whole cashews, the price has been hiked to Rs 720 per kg from Rs 400 per kg.
In a Business Standard report, Kerala Cashew Industry Joint Council said the move was a shot in the arm for the struggling cashew industry in the state. It added that the move would pave the way for higher demand for locally produced cashews, which in-turn would help small-scale processing centres and would create jobs for women in rural areas.
Indian cashew industry exports products like cashew kernels (wholes and broken), cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), cardanol (purified CNSL) and flavoured kernels. The country produces around 350,000 tonnes of cashew kernel. The production and import of raw cashew is around 800,000 tonnes and 900,000 tonnes, respectively.
The council also requested the government to provide a financial package to the cashew industry in Kerala. In March this year, the Kerala government had announced a special package to restructure loans and take over the interest payment for fixed period for the Cashew processing units in the state.
The industry, which is largely small-scale, has been facing massive shutdowns due to heavy losses and debt and pressure from the banks. The overall bank debt of cashew units in the state would be between Rs 500-800 crore. The industry wants the lenders to grant them additional loans on the security it has already provided to them. At present banks offer only 40-50 per cent of the value of the security as loan. The units are demanding at least 90 per cent of the value for additional working capital to restart operations.