Ratnagiri cashew industry struggles despite global acclaim

By ANI | Published: May 4, 2024 07:06 PM2024-05-04T19:06:49+5:302024-05-04T19:10:06+5:30

By Shailesh Yadav Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) [India], May 4 : In the serene landscapes of Ratnagiri, where the aroma of ...

Ratnagiri cashew industry struggles despite global acclaim | Ratnagiri cashew industry struggles despite global acclaim

Ratnagiri cashew industry struggles despite global acclaim

By Shailesh Yadav

Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) [India], May 4 : In the serene landscapes of Ratnagiri, where the aroma of Alphonso mangoes lingers in the air, another treasure awaits discovery: Ratnagiri cashew, considered the world's finest.

Renowned for its rich flavour and superior nutritional profile, Ratnagiri cashew stands as a beacon of agricultural excellence. Yet, behind this acclaim lies a tale of turmoil, as the cashew industry in the Konkan region battles against global competition.

Despite Ratnagiri's status as a cashew powerhouse, its farmers and processors find themselves in dire straits. The allure of cheaper imports from African countries has cast a shadow over local produce, plunging the industry into distress.

Hrushikesh Paranjape, proprietor of Paranjape Agro Products, laments the predicament faced by local processors, who find themselves at a disadvantage due to the price differentials between imported and domestic cashews. This season, raw cashews were purchased at Rs 110 per kilogram locally, while imports from Africa cost between Rs 90 to 95 per kilogram.

The plight of cashew farmers has not gone unnoticed on the political stage, with incumbent Member of Parliament Vinayak Raut championing their cause. Raut, contesting for his third term from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat, decries the sharp decline in prices faced by farmers, claiming that five years ago, they received Rs 165 per kilogram, whereas today, they barely receive Rs 95 per kilogram.

Statistics paint a grim picture of the industry's woes, with a significant portion of India's cashew seeds being imported from Africa. Fierce competition from global rivals, particularly Vietnam, further compounds the challenges faced by domestic producers.

As per a report, Vietnam exported cashew worth USD 2.7 billion during 2022 which was 42.4 per cent of total exported cashews globally. As per the latest trade data of the Commerce Ministry, from April 2023 to March 2024, India exported cashew of cashews worth USD 339.2.Mn.

Paranjape highlights disparities in loan tenures and logistics costs between India and Vietnam, underscoring the need for structural reforms to level the playing field.

Paranjape said that efforts are underway by the Government to bolster the region's infrastructure and Ratnagiri also needs dedicated ports and airports. The absence of an airport and port in Ratnagiri adds to the industry's logistical challenges, forcing reliance on Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port for cashew exports. Paranjape emphasizes the potential benefits of improved infrastructure, envisioning Ratnagiri as a hub for both Alphonso mangoes and cashews, with enhanced competitiveness on the global stage.

On Friday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed an election rally for Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and MSME Minister Narayan Rane. During his address, Shah said that the NDA government has established a Cashew Board to support cashew farmers, and a dedicated board for Ratnagiri mangoes is in the works.

The world-famous Alphonso Mango is produced here. Alphonso Mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane, and Raigad districts of Maharashtra got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2018. GI for Cashew is under process and expected soon to get GI tag.

According to Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) importing of raw cashew nuts has played a key role in the growth of the cashew industry which accounts for almost half of the domestic and export demand for cashew kernels in the country.

India exports cashews to over 60 countries. UAE, Japan, and Netherlands are the top 3 importers of Indian cashews.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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