Addressing the annual general meeting of the council here on Thursday, P Bharathan Pillai, chairman, said low productivity of cashew cultivation in India was having an adverse impact on the processing and export industry.
Vietnam, which took to cashew cultivation seriously over a decade ago, achieved a productivity of 2,000 kg per hectare, while in India this is just 815 kg per hectare. The government should, therefore, initiate new schemes to enhance both production and productivity, he said.
According to the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development, production of raw cashew nuts in India during 2008-09 was 695,000 tonnes as against 665,000 tonnes in 2007-08.
The annual requirement of the cashew processing industry is estimated to be over 1.2 million tonnes, but the internal availability is half of this. The balance is met by imports from countries like African nations and Indonesia.
The Kerala government has set up a special agency for promoting cashew cultivation under the chairmanship of Cashew Special Officer. Besides, the government is promoting re-plantation and enhancing acerage of cultivation. “But, there should be more comprehensive action plans to increase production,” he said.
The global economic turmoil has affected cashew exports adversely in 2008-09. Exports of cashew kernels declined 4 per cent to 109,523 tonnes valued at Rs 2,988.40 crore during the year.
The country also exported 9,099 tonnes of cashewnut shell liquid valued at Rs 26.06 crore.