The Kerala government will soon constitute a Cashew Board with the aim of reviving the traditional cashew sector in the state, which provides employment to over 2.5 lakh people.
Minister for Cashew Industries and Fisheries J Mercykutty told the Assembly that the proposed board was envisaged as a special purpose vehicle to boost the cashew sector.
Replying to a notice seeking adjournment motion over the issues faced by the cashew sector, she criticised the BJP-led NDA government and the previous UPA government for not considering the state’s long-pending demand to set up a similar facility at the national level.
“The state government has decided to set up the Cashew Board headquartered in Kollam. It is a historic step to revive the cashew sector and to protect the interests of workers,” Mercykutty said.
Stating that one of the main problems faced by the cashew sector was the nonavailability of raw cashew, she said the proposed board would take steps to import raw cashew kernels and small-scale private cashew owners also offered support for this.
She said the government was also planning a massive cashew plantation drive and a new variety of cashew that would give yield in one year would be launched in September.
Detailing the various steps taken by the LDF government to revive the cashew sector, the minister said the public sector factories had remained closed for eight months when the government came to power last year.
“With the strong intervention of the government, 40 of them have been re-opened. Of over 800 private factories closed due to various reasons, including the non-availability of raw cashew, 428 have been reopened in one year,” she said.