Pachamalai cashew ryots’ plea for processing unit

Although cashew farming has picked up on Pachamalai hills, scope for a corresponding rise in income remains elusive in the absence of a processing centre to convert raw into kernel.

The hill farmers depend on agents to transport the produce to Jayankondam in Ariyalur district, and find themselves constrained to sell the nut for ₹150 per kg.

Cashew cultivation has picked up gradually over the last couple of decades since it is drought-resistant. “There is not less than 10,000 acres under cashew cultivation. Tapioca, the major crop, is grown on the remaining 15,000 acres of patta land,” said K. Perumal, president, Tiruchi unit of Tamil Nadu Scheduled Tribe Malayalee Peravai.

According to a senior agriculture official, cashew grows well on soil prone for high degree of erosion.

Earlier, the departments of Horticulture, Agriculture, Rural Development and Forest provided farmers with cashew saplings. In recent years, farmers produce their own seeds qualitatively and sow them during the rainy season. “Once the plant develops in three months, it will start surviving on its own," Mr. Perumal said.

Marketing of the produce remains a knotty problem. And they are unable to derive any utility from the cashew apple that get wasted. The cashewnuts moves from producers to agents before reaching the manufacturers, thereby reducing the margin for farmers.

Even at the prevailing rate, a two to three acre cashew farm will fetch a revenue of not less than ₹2 lakh a year. An eco-system for value addition of the produce on the hills will result in substantial economic benefit to farmers. “If the government is not in a position to establish a processing centre, it should at least facilitate private players to establish their units,” Mr.Perumal added.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 9:40:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/pachamalai-cashew-ryots-plea-for-processing-unit/article27061678.ece

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