Ratnagiri Cashew Farmers Struggle Amidst Global Competition

Ratnagiri cashew farmers in India struggle to compete with cheaper imports from Africa and Vietnam, despite superior flavor and nutritional profile. The government is taking steps to support the industry, including establishing a Cashew Board and improving infrastructure.

Trim Correspondents
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Ratnagiri Cashew Farmers Struggle Amidst Global Competition

Ratnagiri Cashew Farmers Struggle Amidst Global Competition

Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India, renowned for producing the world's finest cashews, is facing significant challenges due to intense global competition.struggles, despitethe superior flavor and nutritional profile of Ratnagiri cashews, local farmers and processors are struggling to compete with cheaper imports, particularly from African countries and Vietnam.

Why this matters: The struggles of Ratnagiri cashew farmers have implications for India's agricultural sector as a whole, highlighting the need for policymakers to address the challenges faced by local producers in the face of global competition. If left unaddressed, this could lead to a decline in the quality and availability of Indian cashews, affecting not only the local economy but also the country's reputation as a major cashew exporter.

Thecashew industryin Ratnagiri is grappling with a sharp decline in prices. Local processors are purchasing raw cashews at Rs 110 per kilogram, while imports from Africa cost between Rs 90 to 95 per kilogram. "Five years ago, they received Rs 165 per kilogram, whereas today, they barely receive Rs 95 per kilogram,"said Vinayak Raut, the incumbent Member of Parliament who is championing the cause of cashew farmers.

Statistics reveal the extent of the challenges faced by Indian cashew producers. In 2022, Vietnam exported cashew worth USD 2.7 billion, accounting for 42.4% of total exported cashews globally. In comparison, India exported cashew worth USD 339.2 million from April 2023 to March 2024. A significant portion of India's cashew seeds are imported from Africa, further adding to the industry's woes.

Hrushikesh Paranjape, proprietor of Paranjape Agro Products, highlights the disparities in loan tenures and logistics costs between India and Vietnam. "The allure of cheaper imports from African countries has cast a shadow over local produce, plunging the industry into distress," Paranjape stated, emphasizing the need for structural reforms to level the playing field.

The Government is taking steps to bolster the region's infrastructure, recognizing the importance of dedicated ports and airports in Ratnagiri to enhance competitiveness on the global stage. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced the establishment of a Cashew Board to support cashew farmers, with a dedicated board for Ratnagiri mangoes also in the works.

Ratnagiri, a hub for both Alphonso mangoes and cashews, has the potential to become a powerhouse in the global market with improved infrastructure. The world-famous Alphonso Mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane, and Raigad districts of Maharashtra received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2018, and the GI tag for cashew is expected to follow soon. India currently exports cashews to over 60 countries, with UAE, Japan, and Netherlands being the top three importers of Indian cashews.

As Ratnagiri cashew farmers navigate the challenges posed by global competition, the support from local politicians and the government's initiatives to establish dedicated boards and improve infrastructure offer a glimmer of hope. The future of the Ratnagiri cashew industry hinges on the successful implementation of structural reforms and the development of critical infrastructure to boost competitiveness and secure a prominent place in the global market.

Key Takeaways

  • Ratnagiri cashew farmers struggle to compete with cheaper imports from Africa and Vietnam.
  • Local prices have dropped from Rs 165/kg to Rs 95/kg in 5 years, affecting farmers' livelihoods.
  • Vietnam dominates global cashew exports, accounting for 42.4% of the market.
  • India's cashew industry faces challenges due to disparities in loan tenures and logistics costs.
  • The Indian government is taking steps to support cashew farmers, including establishing a Cashew Board.