Federation of Indian Cashew Industry (FICI) along with Cashew associations from various cashew growing states in the country have written a letter to Narendra Modi to restore the power of Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) to issue or renew Registration Cum Membership Certificates (RCMC) to its members . The certificate helps for export-related works and availing duty benefits under foreign trade policy.
Earlier vide public notice no 6/2015-2020 dt 14th June 2021, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had suspended the powers vested with the council to issue RCMC to its members and authorised the government body APEDA (Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Agency) to issue RCMC to cashew exporters. This decision in effect is paralysing the council which is actively involved in protecting the interests of the domestic cashew industry.” Said Mr Ramakrishnan, Secretary of Tamilnadu Cashew Processors and Exporters Association .
“The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India is kept in total darkness as to why the Director General of Foreign Trade has taken a decision to suspend the power vested with the Council in issuing Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) to the cashew Exporters and Processors. This decision was without giving any notice to the council. This would affect the functioning of the council that runs on membership and trade contribution of members collected against issuing RCMC. The salary to the staff members, the administrative expenses and the export promotion activities are carried out of this revenue. With the suspension of this power, the financial stability of the council is in question” said Dr. Noordeen Abdul, the Chairman, Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) in Kollam, Kerala where CEPCI is head quartered.
Federation of Indian Cashew Industry (FICI) along with State Associations of Kerala, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and the national Association- submitted their representations to the Honourable Prime Minister and the Union Commerce Minister to restore the powers of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) to issue RCMC and also to put complete ban on import of finished/semi finished cashew kernels into the country.
“It is the cashew import lobby who were badly affected due to the involvement and vigilance of the council in curbing fraudulent imports of finished/semi finished kernels are behind this move. This move is aimed at paralyzing the council and ensuring unhindered imports of cashew kernels to the country. This decision is highly detrimental to the domestic cashew industry. This decision is by surpassing all natural justice and without even serving notice to the council. “ said Mr Mohamed Khuraish, Secretary, Federation of Indian Cashew Industry.
“In India , processing is mainly spread over the states of Kerala, Tamil nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. The processing in India is mostly manual and hence costly compared to competing countries. The Industry employs more than 10 lakh workers – 95% being women folks belonging to socially and economically backward section of the society- find gainful employment in this industry.” He said .
“However, the surge in fraudulent imports of finished and semi finished cashew kernels from competing countries had literally paralysed the Indian cashew Industry. The imports are mainly by making use of lope holes of the Government policies and also by mis-declaration. Certain Government policies are also in support of such imports. This had rendered lakhs of workers jobless and turned hundreds of entrepreneurs declared as NPA . “ said Mr Regin , President and Mr. Jayachandran, Secretary, Cashew Factory Owners Development Association of Tamil Nadu.
“The recent involvement of the council in curbing such fraudulent imports had brought a sign of relief to the ailing cashew industry which otherwise was on the verge of a total collapse. The council was vigilant against such importers that they arranged for collection of data of such imports in advance from the originating countries and passed it over to customs and DRI authorities. This had resulted in seizing of more than 60 such import consignments. The traders who are habitually engaged in such malpractices turned against the council and were trying to abolish it in their move to ensure uninterrupted fraudulent imports.” Said Mr Suresh Bowleker, President, Maharashtra Cashew Manufacturers Association
“The import Lobby always found the interference of the Cashew council an obstruction to their activities and the present move of the DGFT will only help them achieve their targets. But this would be at the cost of putting the nails on the coffins of the cashew industry.” Said Mr. Kedar Subudhi, President, Odisha Cashew Processors Association.
“Further, the CEPCI had initiated a number of drives for the revival of the cashew industry and to make India the cashew processing hub of the world – in tune with ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ scheme. Promotion of ‘INDIAN CASHEW’ as a brand by highlighting its taste and quality and projecting it as a premium product at consumer level in overseas markets is the dream project of the Indian Cashew Industry in its revival path.” He said
The present move of the DGFT in suspending the RCMC would paralise all activities of the council that functions with its own fund sourced from memberships and trade contribution. It may please be realised that if the Government frames policy in support of such importers , the processors will be left with no option but to down our shutters and start importing cashew kernels for our survival. Eventually that would lead to the collapse of this heritage industry of our country.
The Associations humbly requests the Honourable Prime Minister to kindly intervene and direct the Commerce Ministry and the DGFT to restore the power to issue RCMC to the council and ban all sort of imports of finished/semi-finished kernels to help the industry survive/prosper in the land of our country.