MAY 6, 2013
KOCHI: Slack buying from Europe and high raw nut prices have caused a 21% plunge in the cashew kernel exports from India. The sharp fall in quantity has not been reflected fully in the value, which dropped by 8%, as the unit price was higher during most part of the year.
Cashew exports totalled 1,03,645 tonne, valued at Rs 4,046 crore, for 2012-13 as per the initial estimates. Higher price of the raw nuts and lower price of kernel exports led to a squeeze in shipments towards the end of the year.
"The economic problems in Europe hit cashew exports. Though the US was active, we were able to sell more there compared to a year ago in the absence of Vietnam," said Hari Krishnan R Nair, chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI). In terms of value, it is still the second-biggest year for cashew exports, he added. All-time-high in cashew exports happened in 2011-12 when it touched Rs 4,390 crore.
Earlier, the exporters had the cushion of domestic market when the exports were bad. But last year, they were troubled by the rising import of cashew kernels. Since the imports were under-invoiced to lessen the impact of 35% import duty, these kernels were cheaper than the locally-produced ones.
The government is planning to double the duty to discourage such imports, which are coming from Vietnam and Brazil. "We asked the government to consider fixing a duty per kg for imports to prevent under-invoicing," said P Somarajan, proprietor of Kailas Cashews.
Towards the end of the year, the global prices of cashew kernels dipped, putting the exporters in a fix as they had purchased the nuts for processing at a higher price. India imports over half of its requirement of raw nuts of 14 lakh tonne. The price of raw kernels from Africa zoomed to $1,050-1,100 per tonne during the year before dropping to the present level of $800-900 per tonne.
sOURCE: tHE eCONOMIC tIMES