Kerala’s 100-year old traditional cashew industry has sought the intervention of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman for its revival by facilitating a comprehensive financial package.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union Finance Minister, K Rajesh, working president of Cashew Industry Protection Council pointed out that the industry is in a state of alienation and more than 10 lakh workers, including three lakh women, are unemployed because of the crisis.  

Several industrialists have availed of loans from banks for business purposes. Due to the crisis, their loan repayments have stopped, forcing many businessmen to commit suicide. Till date, no permanent solutions have been taken to tide over the crisis, he said.

The protection council urged the Union government to constitute a committee to study the issues in the cashew sector and find a permanent solution to the crisis. The government should also declare a moratorium on bank loans for minimum two years. The banks should stop attaching properties of businessmen, factories for the time being.

The Union government should also take measures to ensure employment stability of cashewnut workers considering that the industry employs one of the most backward women workers. The Government should also implement a special package to revive cashew industry.

Rajesh said the government in association with the MSME Ministry should arrange subsidy for mechanisation and advanced technology, collateral-free CGTMSE working capital loan of at least one unit to entrepreneurs.

Considering the lower exports of cashew from the country, the government should take steps to restore export incentive to the sector from the current 2.5 to 5 per cent.