The Federation of Indian Cashew Industry (FICI) has urged the Centre to roll back the import duty on cashew kernels and restore export incentives till self-sufficiency in raw nut production is achieved.
Hailing the government’s decision to put cashew, cashew nut and allied products in the 5 per cent GST slab, FICI Chairman P Somarajan requested the Centre to fix the GST on value-added cashew kernels, too, at 5 per cent, at par with sweets.
According to Somarajan, India currently produces less than 50 per cent of the raw nuts it requires and depends on imports to cater to its processing and export requirements. Lower prices will discourage the farmers from planting new cashew trees and offset the efforts to attain self-sufficiency in cashew production, he said.
He said that the demand for a downward revision in GST on cashew was based on a host of reasons. Currently, all the States impose VAT on cashew in Schedule III at 5 per cent with nil excise duty.
The GST should be fixed to the nearest slab of VAT and excise duty put together, which works at 5 per cent, whereas for most of tree nuts it worked out at 14 per cent or higher.
As market prices move in tandem with international prices, a high GST would affect farmers since farm gate prices would be slashed down.