Agri Business

PM urged to restore CEPCI powers to help cashew exporters

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 30, 2021

DGFT had suspended its powers to issue certificates that can help shippers derive benefits

Cashew associations from various growing States have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in restoring the powers of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) in issuing or renewing Registration-Cum-Membership Certificates (RCMCs) to their members.

According to these associations, the certificate helps in export-related works and availing of duty benefits under foreign trade policy.

Their plea comes in the wake of the recent DGFT notification, suspending the powers of CEPCI to issue RCMCs and authorising Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Agency (APEDA) to issue RCMCs to cashew exporters. The DGFT decision in suspending the RCMC would curtail the activities of the council that functions with its own fund sourced from memberships and trade contribution, they said.

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According to Noordeen Abdul, Chairman, CEPCI, the council was kept in total darkness as to why the DGFT took the decision to suspend the power of the Council in issuing RCMCs to cashew exporters and processors. The decision was made without giving any notice to the Council and would affect its functioning.

“Salary to the staff members, the administrative expenses and the export promotion activities are carried out from the revenue collected from memberships and trade contributions. With the suspension of powers, the financial stability of the council is in question,” he said.

Path of revival

Over the past few years, the Council had established its regional offices in various parts of the country and initiated a number of measures to revamp the crisis-hit industry. These efforts have started yielding results and the industry was on its path of revival. “More than 10 lakh workers, majority of them being women folk from the socially and economically backward sector of the society find gainful employment in cashew Industry,” he said.

M Ramakrishnan, Secretary of Tamil Nadu Cashew Processors and Exporters Association, said the DGFT decision would paralyse CEPCI, which is actively involved in protecting the interests of the domestic cashew industry.

Mohamed Khuraish, Secretary, Federation of Indian Cashew Industry, alleged that the cashew import lobby who were badly affected due to the involvement and vigilance of CEPCI in curbing fraudulent imports of finished/semi-finished kernels were behind this move. The recent stand of the council against the relaxation of Minimum Import Price of cashew kernels also invited the opposition of the import lobby. The emerging situation would pave the way for unhindered imports of cashew kernels.

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Background of the sector

The cashew processing is mainly spread over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. The processing is mostly manual and hence costly compared to competing countries. However, the surge in imports of finished and semi-finished cashew kernels from competing countries had literally paralysed the Indian cashew Industry.

It is pointed out that CEPCI had initiated various steps for the revival of the cashew industry and to make India the cashew processing hub of the world. The promotion of Indian cashew as a brand by highlighting its taste and quality and projecting it as a premium product in overseas markets is a dream project of the industry.

The associations also urged the government to ban all sort of imports of finished/semi-finished kernels to help the industry for its survival.

Published on June 30, 2021

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