With CM Chandra Babu Naidu having given his clearance for AP’s collaboration with Kerala State Agency for Expansion of Cashew, the state is soon to see a whopping rise in the cashew industry. Along with adopting the best practices of planting cashew, this association will bring about 75 lakh man-day of employment in Andhra Pradesh.
The proposal for this collaboration was submitted by J. Mercykutty Amma, the Kerala Minister for Fisheries, Harbour Engineering and Cashew Industry. According to the proposal, KSACC expects the AP government to offer 50000 hectares of land for cultivating cashew along with an investment of 700 crores that should be offered over the span of next five years i.e. from 2017-2022.
The work for cashew farming will be undertaken by the various farmer societies in the state and will be carried out under the supervision of KSACC. The produce will be taken over by Kerala.
This project which will be funded by National Horticulture Mission will start as soon as the concerned departments of Kerala and AP sign a lease agreement for 99 years.
Since the project intends to import high production grafts, the major benefit that the state will reap will be in form of employment for the people.
According to Ms. Mercykutty, more than a million people in Kerala are dependent on the cashew industry. However, in the past few years, the industry has seen a major setback due to shortage of Raw Cashew Nut because of low production. She further added that for the industry in Kerala to function smoothly, 6 lakh metric tons of raw cashew nut is required every year but lately it has been reduced to 80000 metric tons.
Due to this shortage, a major amount of Raw Cashew Nut was being imported from various countries. However, some of these countries imposed a partial ban on this. This when coupled with a hike in cashew prices affected the Kerala cashew industry quite adversely.
In order to overcome this problem, for the past three months, KSACC has been exploring the option of leasing land from Andhra Pradesh for cashew cultivation. Finally the AP CM as well as National Horticulture Mission has cleared the proposition and given their assent to this arrangement.
It is believed that the remaining formalities on the project will be completed in another week. After this, the governments of the two states will sign a MoU to lend a formal shape to the project. Ms. Mercykutty added that the AP government has been presented with a detailed report for the project which proposes its implementation in Srikakulam, Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and two Godavari districts from 2017-18 to 2021-22.