Agri Business

Soaring raw cashew prices worry processors

A. J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on March 10, 2011 Published on March 10, 2011

A cashew processing unit   -  The Hindu

Cashew growers are happy with good prices for the commodity, but processors are facing anxious moments. The reason: The soaring prices of raw cashew nuts, delayed arrivals in the domestic market, and decline in imported quantities of raw cashew.

Mr K. Prakash Rao, former President of Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers' Association (KCMA), told Business Line that prices are at an all-time high for seeds of fresh crops.

A farmer who sold it at Rs 40-45 a kg in the last season, now gets around Rs 80-85 a kg, and the arrivals are only trickling now, he said.

Stating that the pipeline of stocks is getting empty, he said there is no imported raw cashew. Barring a few exporters, small manufacturers are running out of stocks.

Late crop

Mr G. Giridhar Prabhu, former Vice-President of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India, said the crop is late by four-five weeks.

“This creates a psychological disadvantage for operators. Some fear that late crop will be a poor crop,” he said.

Stating that the crop production forecast was estimated to be better than previous two years on flowering patterns, he said the expectations were great. “Recently news has come that fruit set is not progressing and fog in the mornings has disturbed flowers. This needs to be examined over the next five weeks,” he said.

Mr K. Pramod Kamath, Secretary of KCMA, hoped that the crop should be good in April and May.

Though the industry is expecting a normal crop this season, there are some worries. Mr Prakash Rao said early monsoon may lead to short crops. “If the monsoon goes up to June 15, we can expect a normal crop,” he said.

Mr B. Rahul Kamath, a cashew processor from Karkala in Udupi district, said there is a shortage in imported raw cashewnuts. The biggest question mark is the unrest in Ivory Coast.

Of the nearly 6 lakh tonne raw cashew imported by India from various destinations, Ivory Coast contributes nearly 1.5-2 lakh tonnes.

Processing shutdown

Asked if the short supply of stocks would have an impact on the processing units, the processors expressed different opinions.

Mr Prakash Rao felt it is likely that almost 40 per cent of the industry may wind up for almost a month. The process of winding up may start from next week.

Mr Rahul Kamath said the cashew processing sector is in a stage where godowns are empty. This will definitely have impact on processing units, he said.

Mr Giridhar Prabhu said some units would have problems and added that they were not serious.

Published on March 10, 2011
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