India: Cashew growers gear up for hard times ahead
TNN | Updated: Dec 22, 2016, 01.48 PM IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: Last year, a bag of cashew with kernel weighing close to 100 kilos was sold for Rs 8,000 and more. However, this year, that may not be the case as about 200 processing units in Palasa are yet to begin production due to lack of demand even in this festive season. According to traders in Tagarapuvalasa and Visakhapatnam, most of the old stock is still lying unsold. "Close to 40% of the cashew sale is during the festive and wedding season between October and January. However, today, due to demonetisation, processed cashew which fetches on an average Rs 550 per kilo is hardly finding any buyers. In such a scenario, the cash dependent cashew trade will be strapped for the next season and farmers will be the worst hit," observed KS Chetty, a cashew trader based in Tagarapuvalasa. Chetty said the cashew trade in Kerala has also been badly mauled and due to this reason, farmers might find it difficult to sell at last year's rates. "The bags should go for roughly Rs 5,000 and any increase in the rate would be marginal," he said.
Traders said those who sell cashew are small farmers with cooperative bank accounts. They pointed out that these farmers usually prefer cash transactions. Sources in the farming sector from Visakhapatnam said unless the farming community is trained to carry out transactions online, they would sell their produce for far too little as the traders would call the shots.
Farmers in Makkavaripalem have asked the government to promote Paytm to help them in the summer. B Ayyappa, a farmer, said, "Unless I convince the trader-commission agent duo that I am happy with online payments, I cannot make him confirm the rate I wish for. However, even this might be difficult as the traders would have to get all their cash back into rotation by then and this may not be entirely possible by the month of May."
CV Raju, a big farmer from Rambilli, noted, "Much would depend on how much money is in circulation by May."