India's raw cashew nut output likely to rise 15% in 2013 22-02-2013

India's raw cashew nut crop, despite late flowering, is likely to be higher by 15 per cent this year — close to 800,000 metric tonnes as against 693,000 metric tonnes in 2012.

"There was a delay in flowering for the current year's crop due to rains till November in many growing regions in the country. However, the continuous rains have only helped in the fruit setting. Overall, the crop is positive for the current year," said Venkatesh Hubballi, director, Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development (DCCD).

Harvesting of the early variety has already commenced in parts of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala and will continue till the end of May.This year, the area under cashew nut has gone up by 18,000 hectares to touch 942,000 hectares, compared to 920,000 hectares last year. New areas brought under cashew nut planting include Jharkhand and the northeastern states.DCCD has been promoting cashew nut planting in about 22,000 hectares every year since 2005-06 under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) programme. In most of the areas, the senile plants have been uprooted and planted with new high yielding varieties, he said."The fruit setting is very good this year and the prevalence of dry weather during the flowering and fruit setting has aided the maturity of nuts this year," Hubballi said.In India, cashew nuts are generally harvested from February to May. However, the harvesting in eastern coast states will commence by end of March or early April.

Cashew is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. The DCCD is making efforts to grow the crop in places like Chhattisgarh, northeastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well. About 750 hectares were brought under planting in the islands last year with high yielding varieties, Hubballi said.During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the government has given thrust on replanting 40-year old plantations in most of the states. The DCCD has identified 320,000 hectares as senile land in various states jointly with state-owned cashew development corporations. Under the NHM programme, the government is planning to add 25,000 hectares every year, Hubballi added.India imports more than half its raw cashew requirement due to poor productivity in the country. The productivity in India is about 824 kg per hectare, which is more than double in countries like Vietnam.

India imports raw cashew nuts mainly from Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Vietnam.India imports 700,000 tonnes, which will be converted into cashew kernels. In 2011-12, India exported 131,760 tonnes of kernels valued at Rs 4,390 crore. The domestic consumption is estimated at 150,000 tonnes valued over Rs 5,000 crore.

Source: business-standard.com

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