Trivandrum: The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has submitted to the Central Government a five-point remedial plan to reverse the alarming downward trend in cashew exports and help revive a once prosperous industry that provided employment to one million rural workers, mainly women.
A request has been made to Union Minister for Finance Shri Arun Jaitely and Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman by CEPCI Chairman, P Sundaran, outlining specific issues pertaining to the cashew industry and sought their intervention in resolving them. Adding to this, an official request to allow a special economic package for cashew sector has been already submitted to the Prime Minister of India by CEPCI.
Cashew exports from India declined by 40% as the export quantity dropped to 25,000 MT during April-August 2016 from 42,000 MT in the corresponding period last year. The newly introduced import duty on the industry has hit the industry hard. As per the new provisions, duty free import is possible only if kernels weighing 25% of the raw nuts imported and worth 15% more in value are exported within 18 months.
Addressing a press conference, Sundaran said, “Apart from the import duty burden, the slashing of export incentives have also led to the drastic fall in exports. While the present Trade Policy gives priority to industries, which are agriculture-based, labour-oriented, women-centric and export-oriented, the cashew industry which more than qualifies under all these categories, has been denied eligible benefits and subjected to a drastic cut in export incentives.”
In the five-point remedial measures outlined, besides withdrawal of the import duty in full, which adds up to 9.36 per cent including special additional duty and cess, the CEPCI has put forward a request to waive quantity norms on the Standard Input Output Norms retaining the prevailing value norms.
The CEPCI has also requested permission for processing raw nuts unhindered, in an exporter-friendly atmosphere, as well as trading of export quality grades of kernels, to enable exporters to fulfil their export commitments.
M A Ansar, Vice Chairman; Dr Bhoodesh, Member, Committee of Administration; K Sasi Varma, Advisor; and Sree Rajmohan, Joint Director, CEPCI were among those present.
Kerala Biz News