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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Kerala hosts conclave on cashew trade, eyes supply from African countries

Kerala is seeking to collaborate with supplier countries in Africa to avoid the role of middlemen in procuring raw cashew nuts for the hundreds of processing factories based here. It is hosting a two-day conclave on 'Cashew trade for common good' in association with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) involving diplomats from the African countries. AFRICAN REPRESENTATION Among the African nations being represented are Madagascar, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Gambia, Togo, and Mali. In her address, J Mercikuttiamma, Kerala Minister for Cashew and Fisheries, requested the MEA to direct Indian Ambassadors to liaise with the concerned ministers and organisations to facilitate direct procurement of cashew nuts from the African countries, negotiate prices, and help an agency identified by the state government to inspect the stock and lift it.Ambassadors/ High Commissioners of African nations may be requested to sign or prepare the agreements in consultation with their governments, aimed at long-term procurement with cooperatives or government institutions, subject to price agreements. Based on the relevant action and follow-up, the state government in coordination with the MEA would plan a visit to major suppliers of cashew nuts. MUTUAL BENEFIT The diplomatic conclave, the minister said, would benefit the African nations and the state government in more ways than one. Almost three lakh workers, mostly women, in Kerala are dependent on cashew processing for their livelihood. Most belong to the disadvantaged sections of the society. It is clear that they, along with the cashew farmers (producers) in the African nations, are going to be the biggest beneficiaries of the conclave. The conclave also aims to avoid the role of the middlemen and speculation in the cashew trade, the minister affirmed. By virtue of their financial muscle and influence, the middlemen manipulate the prices raw cashew nuts to their advantage. This is harming the interests of not only the cashew processing industry in India but also producers of raw cashew nuts in Africa.

Source: The Hindu Business Line