TAMIL NADU

SISI plan to modernise cashew cultivation

ARIYALUR, FEB. 26 . The Small Industries Service Institute has mooted a plan to modernise cashew cultivation and start cashew-based agro industries in and around Jayamkondam, the Deputy Director, SISI, S.Muthusamy, said yesterday. One of the proposals was aimed at motivating cashew growers to take to production of cashew-based wine.

Speaking at a function to mark the special motivation camp under the `New Anna Marumalarchi Thittam' (NAMT), Mr. Muthusamy said the plan comprised a four-pronged strategy for modernising cashew cultivation and for starting cashew-based entrepreneurship.

Pockets such as Jayamkondam, Sendurai and Andimadam were major quality cashew producing centres but the cultivation and processing activities were still on traditional lines.

Unorganised labourers were being used for processing cashew kernel. The SISI wanted to upgrade the unorganised labourers into an organised sector.

The cashew growers would be motivated to take to cashew oil extraction. Explaining the uses of cashew oil in several fields, he said the SISI would extend all possible assistance, if they set up cashew oil extraction units through steam process.

"The use of steam process leaves cashew slag which can be used for generation of power", he said.

The SISI had also evolved a new project for manufacture of wine using cashew apple, an agro produce not much put to industrial use by the cashew growers.

He said the SISI would offer technical assistance to the cashew growers willing to set up cashew-based wine units, which had a potential to be developed as a cottage industry.

The Collector, S. Natarajan, in his presidential address, appealed to the farmers to take to casurina cultivation, particularly under the wasteland development programme.

The Forest department had released new varieties, which reduced the duration of the casurina to six years. Casurina would be used as an important raw material by power generation units.

Mr. Natarajan also appealed to the farmers to take to cultivation of horticultural crops in the district. There was a strong case for starting cold storage units in the district, he said, adding the district administration would extend all facilities for entrepreneurs taking up innovative ventures.

The General Manager, District Industries Centre, S. Asokan, was among those who spoke.

The Collector gave away financial assistance to an entrepreneur, R.Balakrishnan, who has planned to set up milk processing and diary product unit at Naranamangalam.