Agri Business

Kerala cashew sector to tap Japanese market in post-Covid days

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on April 22, 2020 Published on April 22, 2020

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V Sajeev Kumar Kerala’s cashew sector is gearing to tap the Japanese market in the post-Covid days in view of rising demand and recurring orders for kernels.

Japan is one of the major buyers and the current lockdown is a hindrance to meet the demand fully. However, the sector is confident to utilise its potential once the restrictions are lifted, said K Rajesh, national committee member of the Cashew Industry Protection Council.

Japan is an important market for Indian cashew kernels with yearly export of around 10,000 tonnes. Of this, the contribution of the Kerala cashew sector is around 8,000 tonnes and the balance will be met from Vietnam and China markets. The drum-roasted cashew kernels are the USP of Kerala product, which finds many takers in Japan, Rajesh said.

Last year, shipments to Japan was as low as around 5000 tonnes due to a subdued demand coupled with a muted work environment in the highly labour-intensive cashew processing factories here on account of several sector-wise issues, he added.

Any delay in entering the Japanese markets in the post-Covid days may give Vietnam and China an opportunity to gain supremacy. Both these countries have a competitive advantage of lower production costs because of mechanisation. The cost of production for kernels in India is around ₹700 per kg, while in Vietnam, it is around ₹350/kg.

Besides Japan, the US, Australia, the European Union are also good markets and the Covid-19 situation has led to a diminishing demand in these consuming economies, he added.

According to R.K.Bhoodes, Chairman, Federation of Indian Cashew Industry, the sector is in the process of promoting consumption of cashew nuts as an immunity booster in consuming countries due to the presence of zinc.

However, he said, the consumption of cashew nut in the domestic market has been affected in the wake of the cancellation of marriages and other functions. It is expected to take at least 1 to 2 years to restore normalcy.

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Published on April 22, 2020
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