Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: P. Bharathan Pillai, chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council (CEPC) of India, has stressed on the need for making the country self-sufficient in cashew nut production. He was addressing the 54th annual general meeting of the CEPC at Kochi on Thursday.

Mr. Pillai called upon the cashew exporters in the State to support the special agency set up by the State government for promoting cashew cultivation.

The agency aims at achieving a quantum jump in the availability of raw cashew nuts in the State.

He said that as per estimates from the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development, raw cashew nut production in India during 2008-2009 was 6,95,000 tonnes as against 6,65,000 tonnes the previous year. The raw nut requirement for the industry is about 12 lakh tonnes and the domestic production meets only half of that. The rest is imported mainly from Africa and Indonesia.

Through the export of cashew kernels, cashew nut shell oil and allied products during 2008-2009, India earned foreign exchange equivalent to Rs.3,014 crore ($656 million).

During this period, 1,09,523 tonnes of cashew kernels valued at Rs.2,988.40 crore and 9,099 tonnes of shell oil valued at Rs.26.06 crore were exported.

Mr. Pillai said that the global recession had adversely affected cashew kernel exports.