KOLLAM: The cashew industry has welcomed the budget proposal to earmark Rs 20 crore to bring down processing costs, which is one reason why many units migrate to other states. “The government will hold talks with processors and design appropriate packages to prevent the migration of the industry to other states,” Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation chairman S. Jayamohan told DC.
The budget has provided Rs 30 crore for purchase of raw cashew for the 40 public sector factories under the Cashew Corporation and Capex and Rs 6.5 crore for promoting cashew plantation in the state. The budget has allotted Rs 42 crore for renovation and partial mechanisation of cashew factories, which will help meet the scarcity of workers in the shelling section. “This is expected to boost the quantity of cashew in the processing line,” he said. “ Rs 1.5 crore has been allotted for making special arrangements to take care of children brought by these workers to the factories,” he added.
However, the Corporation still has a liability of `56 crore as gratuity dues and Rs 6 crore on account of provident fund payments. The corporation has also requested the government to provide `69 crore to take over 20 factories which are now on lease, he said. Meanwhile, the private sector expects the government to support it by providing subsidies for mechanisation with a view to meeting the high processing costs in the State. “One way to sustain thre industry here is to government undertakes to make fringe payments including PF and gratuity to workers,” Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) vice-chairman R.K. Bhoodes told DC. “We welcome the fund allocation for plantation as the CEPCI has already made a roadmap to achieve a target production of 20 lakh tone.”