The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) the apex body of cashew exporters from the country has welcomed the Union Budget for the year 2019-20  presented by Union Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman which has announced hike in  the import duty of cashew kernels (both wholes & brokens) and cashew nut others (semi – finished cashew and other products) from 45% to 70%. This decision is a relief to the already crisis hit industry on its path to revival.

Earlier on 8th February 2018, the Council had represented the Government of India to increase the Minimum Import Price on Cashew wholes from Rs.400/- to Rs.720/- per kg and for Broken Cashews from Rs.288/- to Rs. 680/- per kg and also to hike the import duty on all Cashew kernels from 45% to 70 %. Vide Notification No.8/ 2015 – 2020 dated 12 June 2019, the DGFT had increased the Minimum Import Price as requested by the CEPCI.” Said Dr R.K.Bhoodes, Chairman, The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) welcoming g the Union Budget.

“Now with this Budget, the import duty on plain Cashew kernels is also hiked to 70%.This proposal is highly welcomed by the entire Cashew fraternity. However, the Council’s request for hike in the import duty and placing Roasted Cashew and Cashew other items (semi- finished, husk, shell etc.) under “Prohibited Items” is yet to be decided by the Government.: Dr Bhoodes said.

“Also the request to withdraw the 2.5% import duty on raw cashew nut which was much awaited by the industry is not seen addressed in the Budget. The industry is heavily dependent on imported cashew for processing and the import duty has discouraged and made the domestic processing unviable resulting in diversion of raw cashew nut from other producing countries to our competing countries.” He added

“There has been a surge in imports of plain and also semi- finished cashew kernels into the Country by mis- declarations and making use of loop holes in the existing laws. Large volumes of plain cashew kernels are imported under the pretext of roasted cashews which attracts NIL Duty under various Free Trade Agreements. Also bulk volumes of semi- finished kernels are imported under Advance Authorisation scheme and sold in the domestic market. The Export Obligations are too lenient for the import of semi – finished kernels that encourages its imports. Also huge volumes of cashew brokens are regularly been imported by mixing them with cashew husk and declaring them as husk alone. With these types of imports, genuine processors/exporters find it difficult to survive and the industry is almost at the verge of a total collapse.”Dr Bhoodes said.

“While whole heartedly welcoming the present Budget announcements, the CEPCI requests the Government to consider plea of the industry to put a complete ban on the import of roasted cashew, semi- finished cashews and husk and to roll back the import duty on raw cashew nuts. This only will protect the ailing cashew industry to revive from the present crisis.” He added