India: ‘Govt hasn’t jettisoned plans for cashew cultivation in AP’
By Dileep V Kumar | Express News Service | Published: 19th December 2016 02:06 AM |
Last Updated: 19th December 2016 02:09 AM
KOLLAM: It was with much fanfare that the state government unveiled its plan to undertake large-scale cashew cultivation on barren tracts in Andhra Pradesh. But two months on, faced with the impracticality and the risks associated with the proposal, the government was said to have junked it as sources with the Industries Department said that they had been asked to come out with plan B.
However,Cashew Minister J Mercykutty Amma, while acknowledging that alternative plans were being explored, though, insisted that the proposal for cashew farming was still pending before the N Chandrababu Naidu Government in AP.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and minister Mercykutty Amma had written to Naidu in September expressing the state’s interest to undertake cashew cultivation on 50,000 hectare of barren land.
“It’s true that the Andhra Government is yet to take a final decision on the proposal. But that doesn’t mean that we have jettisoned the project. We had sent a letter urging them to convey the status of the proposal. We had also sought the Centre’s intervention. We are exploring the possibility of undertaking large-scale cashew farming within the state. As per the plan, the farming will be carried out by the farmers in Andhra and the produce will be handed to us.
We plan to seek the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) funds,” said Mercykutty Amma. On the likely risks associated with the project, the minister said, “Imagine a scenario in which they( AP farmers) decide not to give us the produce which they had farmed on their land. This might affect the day-to-day business of our factories if we were going to rely on them.”
According to officials, the state government plan was to take about unused land on lease at Sreekakulam and Vijayanagaram for cashew cultivation in which the cashew cultivation will be carried out under the aegis of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC). The decision to relocate cashew cultivation to the neighbouring state follows the state’s abysmal cashew output,with domestic production adding up to a meagre 10 per cent.