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Raw cashew import thru Mangalore port up 36%

Domestic market turns vibrant; production dips.

“At the current rate, five years from now, we may almost depend 75 per cent on the imported raw cashew nuts”

A.J. Vinayak

Mangalore, April 12

The domestic cashew consumption is on the rise, as the import of raw cashew nuts through New Mangalore Port saw nearly 36 per cent growth in 2009-10 and the export of processed cashew kernels witnessed a decline of 16 per cent.

Major factors

Factors such as a vibrant domestic market and the decline in production of raw cashew nuts in Karnataka have contributed to this development.

Karnataka – one of the major cashew processing States in the country – imported 1.29 lakh tonnes of raw cashew nuts through the New Mangalore Port during 2009-10 against 95,087 tonnes in the previous fiscal, recording a growth of 36.63 per cent.

However, the export of processed cashew kernels came down by 16.18 per cent. The cashew industry from Karnataka exported 10,569 tonnes (12,609 tonnes) of cashew kernel in 2009-10.

Mr K. Prakash Rao, former president of Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers' Association, told Business Line that the domestic kernel market has been witnessing good growth in the recent years. At the same time, raw cashew production in the State is also coming down.

Earlier the entire exports were managed by the imported cashews. Now the imported raw cashew nuts are used for domestic consumption.

“At the current rate, five years from now, we may almost depend 75 per cent on the imported raw cashew nuts, and only 25 per cent of our requirement will be met by domestic segment,” he said.

Retail revolution

Mr B. Rahul Kamath, Partner of the Karkala-based cashew processing firm Bola Surendra Kamath & Sons, said that retail revolution in the country and increase in the income level of people is pushing up the domestic cashew consumption. Compared to other commodities, the price of cashew kernels has remained almost stable, he said. All these factors led to the growth of domestic cashew consumption.

Mr Prakash Rao said that the production of raw cashew in the State is likely to be down by 30 per cent this year. The cashew-growing regions in the State witnessed rainfall till December 2009. This had an impact on the flowering of cashew, which normally takes place during November-December. This is one of the reasons for the decline in the production of raw cashew nuts in the State.

Stating that raw cashew import is likely to go further up during the current fiscal, he said Karnataka may import 1.40 lakh tonnes of raw cashew in 2010-11.

As many as six mainline container vessels, carrying raw cashew cargo from Africa, called at New Mangalore Port during 2009-10. Mr Prakash Rao hoped that the number of mainline container vessels calling at New Mangalore Port is set to increase during the current fiscal.

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