Cashew exports continued to decline in May 2015 compared with the same period last fiscal.

Nearly 70 per cent of the factories in the organised sector have their shutters down from April 1, following substantial increase in the wages of workers by the state government, industry sources in Kollam said. The Kerala Government had hiked the wages of workers by 35 per cent from March 1.

“This, coupled with reduction in incentives for export of cashew in the new foreign trade policy and prevailing high raw nut prices, are the main reasons for the decline in exports”, K Sasi Varma, Executive Director and Secretary, Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), told BusinessLine .

During May 2015, India exported 7,407 tonnes of cashew valued at ₹354 crore at an average unit value of ₹498.11 a kg as against 8,928 tonnes valued at ₹391.35 crore at unit value of ₹438.34 a kg in the same month in 2014, he said.

Total exports during Apr-May 2015 stood at 13,194 tonnes valued at ₹641.95 crore at the average unit value of ₹486.55 a kg. In the same period last fiscal it was 16,316 tonnes valued at ₹710.89 crore at unit value of ₹435.70 a kg. However, shipments of salted and roasted kernels and Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL)/Cardanol have shown an up trend during the first two months.

A total 117 tonnes of roasted and salted kernels were shipped out as against 101 tonnes in the same period last year.

Exports of CSNL/Cardanol have shown a substantial increase from 1,022 tonnes to 1,471 tonnes in April-May 2015.

Trade sources said that the demand growth in Indian domestic market is 15 per cent per annum and the prices have been above the international market prices.

As a result, many of the processor-exporters were marketing a good portion in the domestic market at a premium, they said.

A good percentage of the domestic demand of over two lakh tonnes of kernels is met by supplies from the unorganised sector, they said.

Imports of raw cashew nuts (RCN) have also dropped in Apr-May this year to 1,54,962 tonnes valued at ₹1,232.94 crore at a unit value of ₹79.56 a kg.

Raw nut imports fall

As against this, imports in the corresponding period last year were at 1,65,364 tonnes valued at 1,118.10 crore at the unit value of ₹67.61 a kg. Industry sources said shutting down of the factories and the high RCN are the reasons for the fall in its imports. He said the indigenous production of raw nuts continued to remain far below the demand of the processing industry. The prices of raw nuts in the local markets were hovering at around ₹100 a kg.

RCN prices firm up According to Pankaj N Sampat, a Mumbai-based dealer, reported lower kernel yields, and delays in shipments appears to have forced shellers to pay higher prices to secure supplies of early arrivals.

Consequently, unlike in the past RCN prices have been going up this year in the peak harvesting period of the Northern crops, which contribute 75 per cent of the world output, he added.

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