Area under cashew is unlikely to increase by 25,000 hectares as targetted for the current financial year, on the back of growers turning to rubber plantation and mining, the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development (DCCD) has said.

“Our target to increase the acreage by 25,000 hectares this fiscal has fallen short by 11,000 hectares, despite the government’s decision to give a hike of 77 per cent in financial assistance (to cashew growers),” DCCD Director Venkatesh Hubbali told PTI.

Hubbali said the shortfall is due to the slackness of state government bodies in implementing various Central schemes meant to benefit and encourage cashew growers.

“The state government implementing bodies are not effectively creating awareness about various Central schemes that will encourage farmers to venture into cashew plantation,” he said, adding that growers in Karnataka and Kerala are therefore, turning to rubber plantation and in Goa they are venturing into mining, Hubbali said.

In the Budget for 2010—11, the government had proposed to increase financial assistance to cashew planters to Rs 20,000 per hectare from Rs 11,250 earlier.

The assistance is given for replanting and new planting of cashew.

According to DCCD data, at present the total cashew acreage in the country stands at around 8.72 lakh hectares and the production is estimated at 6.29 lakh tonne per annum.

The production is expected to cross 7 lakh tonne in the next financial year due to replacement of senile plants and increase in acreage.

Cashew cultivation in the west coast witnesses the start of flowering and fruiting in October—November. The crop is harvested in January end.

In the east coast, however, flowering and fruiting takes place in December and harvesting is done in April and May.

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