Cashew containers pile up at ports as traders stop lifting

Protest against imposition of9.36 per cent import duty

Imported raw cashew containers are stuck at Visakhapatnam, Tuticorin and other ports as the managements of cashew plants have stopped receiving them due to imposition of import duty of 9.36 per cent with immediate effect from March 1.

Cashew processing plant owners say the decision to levy import duty in the Union Budget with immediate effect will cripple them. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 containers carrying imported cashew from Ghana, Tanzania, East and West Africa is stranded at various ports.

Each container contains 16 tonne. Delay in not picking the imported stocks from container freight stations will also force the cashew plant owners to pay demurrage charges from the respective ports.

According to a spokesman for AP Cashew Manufacturers’ Association, Indian output of raw cashew nuts is six to seven lakh tonne against an installed capacity of 23 lakh tonne and running capacity of 16 to 17 lakh tonne. The association has sought steps to encourage cashew farmers to grow more to save lot of foreign exchange and reduce dependence on imports.

“The import duty is totally uncalled for as we get a margin of just two to three per cent,” finance and marketing head of Arle Cashew Pvt. Ltd Sure Madhav told The Hindu on Monday.

Arle has a cashew processing plant at K. Kotapadu in the district. North Andhra has 150 to 200 processing plants with a turnover of Rs.300 crore to Rs.400 crore. The units are mostly concentrated at Palasa of neighbouring Srikakulam district.

Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa are the major importers of raw cashew nuts. As local crop is raised for two to three months, the domestic processing plants import around 10 to 15 lakh tonne per annum. AP processes around one lakh tonne of raw cashew nuts.

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