Thứ Hai, ngày 29 tháng 8 năm 2016

India: Kerala Minister asks State to constitute minimum wages board

29 August 2016

Kerala Minister for Fisheries, Cashew Industry and Harbour Engineering and CITU vice-president J. Mercykutty Amma on Sunday said Andhra Pradesh should constitute a board for revision of minimum wages for the workers.

During her visit to CITU office here, she told reporters that Kerala was successfully revising minimum wages for the workers engaged in 83 scheduled industries by constituting a board.

She said for instance, the minimum wage for cashew workers in Kerala was Rs.400 to Rs.450 per day (all inclusive) whereas in AP it was Rs.165 plus DA (around Rs.215).

“We also give pension to all at Rs.1,000 per month and offer ESI and Provident Fund facilities to all categories of workers.

Ms. Amma, who was here to interact with industrial workers to make general strike on September 2 a success, during her visit to CITU office near Jagadamba junction paid rich tributes to two youth, who were killed in police firing at Basheerbagh during anti-power tariff hike agitation in Hyderabad 16 years ago.

She later released a booklet brought out by CITU on the struggle undertaken by the workers of Brandix India Apparel City.

Ms. Amma said the benefits being given by Kerala government were availed by 43 lakh workers belonging to organised and unorganised sector.

She said they were implementing the best Public Distribution System by supplying 13 items including rice and pulses to the poor. Rice is given at Rs.4 per kg. The government is spending over Rs.1,000 crore on the subsidised rice scheme.

The Minister said Kerala also had set up a board for migrant workers to take care of their requirements. She said minimum wages were being revised once in every three years.

On the general strike, she said the working class of the country had decided to fight against the anti-people policies of the NDA government. The strike should be made successful to provide better working conditions and social security for the workers deployed in organised and unorganised sector.

CITU State president Ch. Narsinga Rao, district general secretary S. Ramesh and city treasurer S. Jyothiswara Rao were present.


Vietnam: Imports of raw cashew nuts jump high

August 19, 2016

Vinacas has quoted latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs as saying that Vietnam imported 158,300 tons of raw cashew nuts worth US$231.3 million in June, up 56.5% in volume and 59.2% in value compared to the previous month. Earlier in May, the country bought 101,300 tons.
Totally, 403,600 tons of raw cashew nuts were imported in the first half of this year, which cost more than US$602 million, down 7.5% in volume but up 9% in value.
Most raw cashew nuts were imported from Ivory Coast, Cambodia and Indonesia, of which Ivory Coast made up 35.7% with 144,000 tons worth US$211.8 million.
Cambodia came second with 75,200 tons worth US$111.5 million and Indonesia ranked third with 25,300 tons at the value of US$40.8 million.

Tanzania: MP protests cashew nut prices announced by board

29 August 2016


India: Kerala mulling land on lease in State for cashew crop

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Kerala Government is contemplating acquiring 50,000 hectares in Andhra Pradesh to raise cashew crop. If the A.P. Government agrees to give land on lease, the cultivation will be taken up by the Kerala Agency for Expansion of Cashew Cultivation (KSACC). The autonomous agency was set up in 2007 with headquarters in Kollam to explore taking up cultivation in more area following migration of several cashew farmers to rubber crop.

The lease issue will figure during a meeting of the Kerala Minister for Fisheries, Cashew Industry and Harbour Engineering J. Mercykutty Amma with A.P. Agriculture Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao in Vijayawada on Monday.

Ms. Amma, who is on a visit to Visakhapatnam to interact with industrial and cashew workers to seek support for the September 2 general strike, told The Hindu on Sunday that she would make a formal proposal during the talks for sanction of 99-year lease. Asked whether they had made any study or zeroed in on any place for cultivating cashew, she said they were yet to make a specific study. “Whatever, our workers are known for their superior skills in cashew cultivation and processing. As of now, we want to take land on lease near Rajamahendravaram area.”

The Minister said once the A.P. Government evinced interest a high-level team would be sent for preparing a detailed project report.

Flight of units

The Minister said that due to payment of high wages to cashew workers over 100 units had migrated to Andhra Pradesh. During the talks with Mr. Pulla Rao, she said she would request the A.P. Government to revise minimum wages on the lines of Kerala. Presently, Kerala is producing 75,000 tonne of cashew crop. “Land has become a big problem for us. Hence, we are looking at exploring various alternatives,” she said.

Source: Hindu business line.

Chủ Nhật, ngày 28 tháng 8 năm 2016

Nigeria: Oyewole: Cashew is one of strategic products to replace oil

By Gbenga Salau   |   28 August 2016   |   3:21 am

Managing Director/CEO, oAfrican Cashew Alliance (ACA), Dr. Babafemi Oyewole

Managing Director/CEO, oAfrican Cashew Alliance (ACA), Dr. Babafemi Oyewole
Currently Employs 500-700 Factory Workers, Yields $250m Yearly
Managing Director/CEO of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Dr. Babafemi Oyewole, in this chat with GBENGA SALAU, spoke on the potentials in the cashew sector of the agro allied industry in Nigeria and how it could be one of the ways to diversify the economy.
Why do you think government should support the cashew initiative?
Current global market trends show a growing demand for cashew. There is great potential and opportunity for cashew-driven national economic growth, development, and employment creation, as well as better income for rural farmers.
Under the Federal Government of Nigeria’s “Transformation Agenda,” the government has committed to a policy of economic diversification. To that effect, NEPC identified 13 National Strategic Export Products, targeted at replacing crude oil. Cashew, as one of the five identified strategic agro-industrial products, has, therefore, become a priority of the Nigerian government.
The cashew industry currently employs between 500-700,000 people, factory workers are about 2,000 formal and 1,000 informal. 90 per cent of those employed are women, 40-60 per cent are youth. The cashew sector has the potential to provide livelihood and jobs for thousands more if adequate policies and programmes are in place to support its development in the country.
What are the definite supports that should be provided for cashew farmers in Nigeria?
There is a need to address current issues, including: High felling rate of old cashew trees without replacement with new, higher yielding varieties; Inability to develop and fully process cashew by-products (cashew apples for prunes, juice, wine, and pulp; cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) which can be used in the manufacturing of paints, varnishes, resins and brake linings; and the shell used as processing fuel); Subpar cashew peeling techniques, which lead to discounted prices on the international market; The poor handling and export packaging responsible for high rates of rejection of cashew exports. The government has been asked to grant National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) a 100 percent duty waiver on jute bags imports.
There is also a need to address the issue of Poor quality cashew exports, leading to a significant loss of export earnings. Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) are often denied access to international markets due to lack of quality control and certification caused by inadequate accreditation. The ACA Seal – an industry-accepted mark that confirms compliance with internationally-recognized standards of quality, food safety and social and labor standards – would increase market access for Nigerian cashew processors if they are certified; Insufficient investment in local cashew processing leading the exporting of over 90 per cent of the crop as RCN. NCAN has urged the government to set aside $53million for a cashew intervention fund to expand local cashew processing and the need for a more transparent market and regulated prices for the crop, possibly through the establishment of a National Cashew Marketing Board that will be responsible for the regulation of the industry.
What is the potential contribution of cashew sector to Nigeria’s GDP?
The cashew sector currently contributes approximately $250million to the Nigerian economy each year, with over 300,000 families depending on cashews for their livelihood. The average production growth during the last five years has been 11,300 MT/year and the expected average production growth in the next five years is 13,500 MT/year – one of the highest expected growth rates in Africa. Cashew export is the third largest agricultural export foreign exchange earner for Nigeria. About $110 million was earned for cashew exports in 2013, representing about eight per cent of all agricultural exports.
The potential revenue generated by increased value added processing is tremendous. In 2002, a USAID study estimated that an increase of 20 percent from Nigeria’s current processing level would create more than 344,000 new jobs and additional income of over $75million. Current estimates of these indicators would be much more higher today. Current consumption is low, but if just 20 per cent of Nigerians eat more cashews – they will consume all the cashews produced in Africa. The market potential is huge. With more support, cashew could be the number one cash crop in Nigeria soon and make the country a leading producer in the continent and globally.
How could farmers better access finance to grow their business and what role government could play in this?
The lack of adequate working capital for farmers, local buying agents, exporters, and processors is hampering the development of the industry. ACA has sought to assist in increasing the bankability of cashew processors through linkages with financial institutions. One way we are doing this is through the recent workshop where we launched the “Linking Cashew Value Chain to Financial Institutions Initiative”. Without access to the vital credit and working capital necessary to purchase RCN, the long-term potentials of the African cashew processing industry would not be realised.
Classical financial institutions do not fully understand agricultural value chains, particularly cashew. Poor finance intermediation by financial institutions has lead to inadequate access to finance for farmers to rehabilitate and replant their ageing farms. Mismatched expectations have created a need for greater mutual understanding between the agricultural and banking sectors.
Greater access to finance is critical to the strength and sustainability of a thriving cashew value chain. Nigerian farmers need capital to ensure the long-term sustainability of their trees and procure new varieties that will significantly improve yields. Additionally, far too much of African cashew production is exported outside of the continent. As cashew processing is a capital intensive and technology sensitive industry, better access to finance and increased incentives for investment is essential for local value addition through processing.
Processing of cashew would ensure the country and cashew stakeholders enjoy the impact of the value chain in cashew, what policy framework should be put in place by government to drive this?
ACA applauds the Cashew Sector Development Strategy prepared by the Nigerian cashew stakeholders with the support of the USAID NEXTT and NEPC. This strategy includes the following holistic policy framework: Farm-Level Support: Quality support at the farm-level is necessary, particularly to ensure the proper procedure for drying and packing, which will ensure the highest quality and price, as farmer-processor-exporter meetings help to clarify quality standards required.
Quality and Technical Capacity Building: Provide capacity building for processing companies on food safety, quality assurance and other technical issues through ACA Seal approval and trainings; Market Development and Promotion: Provide linkages for exporters with overseas markets through RCN buyer-supplier meetings, trade shows, and strategic alliances with buyer associations.
Processing-Export Incentives: Incentive support for the cashew industry through advocacy, best policy practices, and a public-private sector working group and Market Information: Trade information and statistic generation and production of relevant market intelligence reports, including market information and statistical materials for relevant stakeholders. ACA has been providing market information system to its members and other stakeholders through its weekly and monthly market reports to give a better understanding of the industry.
The current Investment incentives are tax breaks from Nigerian Investment Promotion Centre; Export development fund from NEPC and Export Expansion Grant under review. Yet, Nigerian processors still struggle with many issues, including: the high average cost of processing cashew owing to issues with electricity supply, high cost of diesel, and costs of running generators, and inadequate tax rates, including multiple taxation, low incentives for processing, and high rates on bank facilities. The government should aim at strengthening existing cashew investment incentives and create new policies that will deliberately reduce the cost of processing and help attract more investment in the sector. Nigeria can learn a lot from the experience of Cote d’Ivoire, the largest cashew producer in Africa, which has recently undertaken far reaching reforms and incentives to promote the cashew industry.
Does Nigeria have the potential to be the highest supplier of cashew in the world and how can that be achieved?
Yes – Africa grows approximately 57 per cent of the world’s cashew and Nigeria is the third largest producer in Africa with an estimated output of about 170,000 MT annually. A 2001 survey of cashew producing areas in Nigeria revealed that less than 20 per cent of available lands are under cultivation. By increasing land area with high yielding and good quality cashew trees, Nigeria has the potential to become the world’s largest producer of RCN. NCAN is implementing a program for rejuvenating cashew plantations and increasing the area of land under cashew production in Nigeria, particularly as Nigerian cashew trees are aging. It costs N10billion to plant 350 million new trees, which would yield N100million and millions of new jobs. This could provide much needed jobs and economic activity.

Nigeria behind other African countries in Cashew production

By  Lawrence Njoku, Enugu   |   28 August 2016   |   2:29 am

Government’s Neglect Responsible For State Of The Sector
One area that Udi and Ezeagu local government areas of Enugu State excelled before now was in the cultivation and production of cashew nuts and fruits.
Cashew production in these areas became so popular that the then Anambra State government established the Premier Cashew Industry in Oghe, Ezeagu council.
Apart from the two local governments, areas like Nsukka, Udenu and parts of Oji River also produced cashew in large quantity. Sources said it became one of the revenue yielding sources of the state as it was exported to other states, as well as consumed locally.
All these have presently given way, despite the existence of huge cashew plantations in the state. The Premier Cashew industry, the outfit that processed the products for sale went moribund few years after the creation of the state and has remained so till date.
It was gathered that bad management, struggle for power and positions among the workers and alleged government’s neglect due to the discovery of oil as a major source of revenue to the state from the Federal Government contributed to the ugly state of the industry. The outcome of the factors was the collapse of the industry, even as men of the underworld made away with some facilities at the place.
While some of the areas serving as cashew plantation before now are being encroached upon and turned into other uses, residents still on their own harvest the products for sale and other domestic use.
It is a common sight while travelling in most communities in the state to see ripened and decomposing cashew fruits litter here and there, while those brought for sale are hardly sold at reasonable prices.
In an interview with The Guardian, the state commissioner for agriculture, Mike Eneh blamed the development on bad government policies. He stated that the state had no reason to be poor or complain about lack of funds should the agricultural potentials be properly harnessed.
He stated however, that with the economic downturn state governments are now looking into agriculture as alternative to boost their revenues.
He said, “Enugu State is not left out in this quest because, we have no choice than to look inwards and showcase what we have to enable us earn revenue to develop other sources. We are investing heavily on every segment of agriculture – poultry, piggery, Pineapple, Cassava, rice, cocoyam, plantain production, bees and honey and what have you. We are looking at it as a value chain because we have arable land for all these”.
Enugu State according to him is the home of cashew and produces one of the best cashews of export value.
He said government has moribund cashew plantations at different locations in the state, covering over 2000 hectares of land.
“New cashew plantations covering over 600,000 hectares are also being proposed for investments in six local governments, in partnership with the World Bank Commercial Agriculture Development Project. Prospective investors are therefore invited to take advantage of these potentials available in the state,” he said.
He added; “While reviving other areas of agriculture, the state government is interested in cashew production because we remain number one in that area.
“The state government approved a new agricultural policy framework to encourage and attract foreign investments. The vision of the policy is to transform the sector into an industrialised sector that drives income growth, accelerate food and nutrition security, generate employment and transform state into a leading player in global food market to grow wealth for its farmers.”
A lecturer in the department of agriculture, Dr. Aham Okonkwo said from what he has observed, it was possible that government was desirous in agriculture.
He however, faulted the framework as not “only too elitist” but also difficult to attain. “Now we are talking about cashew; do you need to go far to see that what we require is processing? Why would government not make friendly policies that would enable the youths engage in the production of cashew? You don’t need to ask them to continue to pay for hiring services, when indeed you could train them and empower them with the agricultural facilities. So I find it funny.
“Again, the style of governance we have adopted is such that private people should come and own land and develop into agriculture without further assistance from government, it does not show seriousness as far as I’m concerned. Let there be a leaf from government for people to borrow from,” he added.

Nigeria: Cashew production still very low

By Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki   |   28 August 2016   |   2:32 am

Cashew, though not majorly cultivated in Ebonyi State, it is consumed by many.
Check by The Guardian revealed that almost all households consume cashew, yet there is no cashew farm in the state, apart from those planted in neighbourhoods, sometimes to beautify their environment. What is planted is thus not for commercial purpose, but for consumption.
Those who deal in cashew product find it difficult to operate fully because they bring the commodity from other states, thereby making the price a bit high. A bottle of prepared cashew nut goes for between N2, 000 and N2, 500.
A trader Mrs. Ngozi Onuma, attributed the high cost to the difficulties in getting the product from other states, coupled with the high cost of transportation, adding that the price would have been cheaper if cashew is grown in the state.
A farmer who identified himself as Chidi Nwaiboko, said cashew cultivation is not popular in the state, because farmers see it as long term crop, since it will take up to several months or years before the first harvest.
According to him, rice, maize, cassava are most popular crops cultivated, adding that most of the tree crops or fruits like cashew, mango, pawpaw, orange, palm and guava grown in the state, are mostly for consumption and at times very little for commercial purposes.
Another farmer, Mr. Chukwu Ude, who blamed the situation on government’s neglect, wondered why cashew, one of the essential cash crops that provide foreign exchange is popularised, stressing that if attention is paid to cashew plantation, it will not only provide job opportunities, but also generate revenue for government.
He said; “We have virgin land in this state that has not been used over the years, such land can be devoted to cashew production, cashew nuts is an export commodity, which I know provides both employment and revenue for the people and government.
Speaking on the development, the state commissioner of Agriculture, Barr. Uchenna Orji said though cashew production is essential, “but right now the state is focusing more on rice production.”
He noted that apart from rice production the ministry is also cultivating maize and cassava, adding that every essential material needed by farmers for the programme to succeed have been provided.