The Central government’s decision to increase basic customs duty (BCD) on ‘cashew nut, roasted, salted or roasted and salted’ from 30 per cent to 45 per cent in the Budget 2017-18 will encourage domestic cashew manufacturers, say the industry representatives.
Walter D’Souza, a Mangaluru-based cashew manufacturer and former Chairman of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), told BusinessLine that the Indian consumer industry is growing at an accelerated pace with increase in the disposable income among the younger generation.
The increase in BCD will be a setback for imported value-added cashews and will encourage more such domestic units in India, he said.
Stating that imported material was available at low prices, Kannan Subramaniam, Executive Director and Secretary of CEPCI, said the country imported 2,034 tonnes of cashew kernels during April-November of 2016-17 against 1,822 tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
Kalbavi Prakash Rao, partner of the Mangaluru-based Kalbavi Cashews, said that some cashew manufacturing countries used to dump their products such as roasted and salted cashews in the Indian market at a very cheap price to create a market for themselves. The increase in the duty structure will make it a little unviable for them to compete in the domestic market, he said.
However, one of the demands of the cashew sector in the country to roll back BCD of 5 per cent on the import of raw cashew nuts did not materialise in this Budget.
D’Souza said that there is an annual deficit of around a million tonnes of raw cashew nuts for the domestic manufacturers. They replenish this deficit with imported raw cashew nuts that attracts a BCD of 5 per cent.