The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), set up under the ministry of commerce to promote cashew exports, has drawn up an ambitious programme to more than double India’s cashew kernel exports to 275,000 tonnes by 2020, a growth of 120 per cent over the present exports.
The target is among many promotional activities listed by CEPCI in its Vision 2020 programme.
The council recently launched the Vision 2020 programme and opened its office at Mangalore under the convenorship of G Giridhar Prabhu, former vice-chairman of CEPCI, and one of the exporters of cashew. The council aims to achieve the target by exporting the commodity to around 120 countries across the world.
“We are exporting cashew kernels to 60 countries around the world and want to double this number in the next one decade. We are in the process of preparing a country-specific export plan to achieve our goal. The detailed approach document will be prepared in the next one year, which will help us devise strategies for increasing exports,” Prabhu told Business Standard.
Currently, the country is exporting around 125,000 tonnes of cashew kernels. The vision document will come out with a detailed plan to double this number by adding new countries under the export basket, he said.
However, to achieve the export goal of 275,000 tonnes the country requires 1.9 million tonnes of raw cashew nuts. Currently, the country grows a little over half a million tonnes and imports the equal number to achieve 125,000 tonnes exports.
In order to achieve the ambitious target, the country needs to more than double its domestic production of raw nuts. This can be achieved by adopting modern cultivation practices like growing the nut in an orchard as against the present practice of growing in hilly areas. “We need to grow the nuts in a more scientific manner by planting high yielding varieties,” Prabhu said.
Under the programme, the aim is to prepare an ‘approach paper’ and a ‘road map’ to achieve the desired result by all the stakeholders in the industry, he said. The CEPCI will involve all stakeholders such as growers, processors, state and central governments, research institutes and consumers in the cashew value chain to achieve production, productivity and profitability. The approach paper will give a right direction for all to achieve the goal, he added.
“We should make efforts to increase the productivity from the present 900 kg per hectare to at least two tonnes per hectare by planting high yielding varieties and good input management. The National Research Centre for Cashew (NRCC) has come out with certain varieties to achieve high yields. We should grow cashew as an orchard crop and not as a wasteland crop to increase the productivity,” Prabhu said.
The National Horticulture Mission (NHM) has earmarked a lot of funds to increase the productivity of cashew and these funds should be used properly by the farmers. There is a need for an awareness campaign among farmers under the NHM to spread the message, he said adding that the Vision 2020 approach paper would come out with a suitable programme in this direction.
CEPCI is planning to approach all the development commissioners in respective states to give more thrust on cashew cultivation and take steps to plant cashew trees in wasteland.
About 15 million hectares of wasteland is available in the country that can be used for cashew plantation. Steps are taken to plant trees in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Gujarat, he said.