Cashew nut processing factories in Palasa-Kasibugga of Srikakulam district are forced to import raw material from African countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and other countries this year following unprecedented crop loss in the district and other parts of the State.
Andhra Pradesh has about 46,913 hectares of area under cashew with an annual production of 12,500 tonnes of raw nuts. Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasham and Nellore are important cashew-growing districts in the State.
The crop requires a warm humid climate with a minimum of 600 mm rainfall but for good yield well distributed rainfall is a must. Cashew thrives under a wide range of temperatures.
However, heavy rains in the one last year led to damage to the crop which could not grow in frost and cold waves.
Production has come down to 1.5 tonnes from 2.5 tonnes per hectare, causing huge loss to farmers in the district.
Last year, a bag weighing 80 kg. commanded a price of Rs. 5,000. It is likely to go up to Rs.6,500 this time, leading to skyrocketing of prices in the open market.
Fine variety cashew, which is available between Rs. 400 and Rs.450 a kg., may cross the Rs. 550-mark this year.
There are about 200 cashew processing units in the district and the owners are a worried lot.
Palasa Cashew Manufacturers Association president Molla Srinivasa Rao says, “We have to depend on other countries this time for cashew nuts as the production in the State cannot meet our demands. All the manufacturers require at least 2,500 tonnes per day. Otherwise it will lead to huge losses to the mills, causing unrest among the workers.”
Action plan sought
Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha State wing vice-president Pudi Tirupati Rao wanted the Horticulture Department to come out with an action plan to improve production in the State.
In Maharashtra, which has adopted modern techniques, the yield per hectare is over 2.5 tonnes per hectare, the Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha leader added.
- Heavy rains during last year led to cashew crop damage
- Cashew nut prices expected to go up in the open market