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Friday, Aug 09, 2002

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Govt clears market study to boost cashew exports

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Aug. 8

THE Union Commerce Ministry has allocated Rs 1.25 crore to the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC) to conduct a market study for promoting cashew kernels in the US and Japan.

A consultant will be appointed for this purpose sometime next month.

The consultant is expected to commence the work latest by October, Mr Sasi Verma, Secretary, CEPC, told Business Line.

He said the objective of the study in the traditional markets, especially in the US and Japan, was to find out the consumer preference, existing channel of distribution, promotional strategies to be adopted etc. It would streamline a systematic and scientific marketing strategy as to ``how to approach the market'', he pointed out.

Currently the promotional activities were, by and large, carried out by the individual processor-exporter, which was found to be inadequate, he said.

Besides, a research was under way at the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram, to evolve a colourless resin from the cashewnut shell liquid. It was expected to be completed by March next year, he said.

He said the exports of cashew kernels had shown a significant improvement during the first quarter of the current fiscal in terms of volume. However, the unit value had shown a sharp fall.

During April-June, a total 23,596 tonnes of cashew kernels valued at Rs 440.45 crore were exported as against 16,543 tonnes worth Rs 346.85 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. Though there had been a substantial increase of 7,053 tonnes in volume the rise in value was only of Rs 93.60 crore. He attributed the fall to the drop in the unit value, which had declined to Rs 186.66 per kg from Rs 209.67 per kg in the first quarter of the last fiscal.

However, he said, the main competitor of cashew kernels was almond in the US market which had a strong promotional campaign.

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