Kerala’s traditional cashew industry is seeking a financial package from the Centre

Kerala’s 100-year-old traditional cashew industry has sought the intervention of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman to revive it by enabling a comprehensive financial package. In a note to Union Finance Minister K Rajesh, the president of the Indian Cashew Industry Protection Council pointed out that the industry is being alienated and more than 10,000 workers, including three million women, are unemployed due to the crisis. Several industrial companies used bank loans in their business activities. Due to the crisis, their loan repayments stopped, forcing many businessmen to commit suicide. So far, no lasting solutions to the crisis have been found, The Nature Conservation Council urged the Union Government to form a commission to look into the affairs of the cashew industry and find a permanent solution to the crisis. 

The government should also announce a moratorium on bank loans for at least two years. Banks should stop pledging real estate from traders and factories for the time being. The Union Government should also take steps to ensure employment stability for cashew workers considering that the industry has one of the most backward women workers. The government should also implement a special package to revive the cashew industry. Rajesh said that the government along with the MSME ministry should arrange mechanization and hi-tech support and unsecured CGTMSE working capital loan of at least one unit to the entrepreneurs. Considering the decline in cashew exports from the country, the government must take steps to restore the sector’s export incentives from the current 2.5 percent to 5 percent.

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