Talks held by Minister for Cashew Industry J. MercykuttyAmma on Friday with the owner of a private cashew factory chain that has been lying closed for the past 18 months have given hopes that these factories could reopen soon.
The talks were held by the Minister as part of the government’s efforts to reopen the private cashew factories. Many owners closed down their factories following the last revision of minimum wages for cashew workers.
Owners had claimed the wage revision would push up the cost of production making them uncompetitive in the international cashew kernel markets. They said many States in India and Vietnam now processed cashew and the cost of production at these places was much lower than that in Kerala.
The owners said close on the heels of the wage revision came the Centre’s decision to impose duty on imported raw cashew nut. In Kerala, more than 90 per cent of the factories depended on imported raw nut for processing.
All these aspects were pointed out to the Minster by the owner during the talks. The Minister said the government would extend all help possible to the owners to reopen and sustain their factories.