Plain cashew kernels are also being imported as roasted cashew
In a major relief to local cashew processors and traders who are hurt by rising imports, the Union Budget has proposed to increase the customs duty on cashew kernels to 70% from the current 45%, for both broken and whole varieties.
India is the largest consumer of the nut. Cashew prices in the country had dropped 15-20% in the past year to around Rs 600 per kg for kernels due to rising imports. The industry had demanded increasing the duty to 70%, on a par with other nuts.
“At the increased rate, it would be unviable to bring cashew kernels into the country through legal means,” said RK Bhoodes, chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India.
Plain cashew kernels are also being imported as roasted cashew, which carries no duty if brought from Asean or least-developed countries. “In fact, along with our demand for raising duty of cashew kernels, we had also requested for declaring roasted cashew as a prohibited item, which would have stopped illegal imports,” Bhoodes said.
India’s annual cashew consumption is around 3 lakh tonnes and it is growing 5% a year. Cashew processors and exporters are banking more on the domestic market now, as exports have been falling steadily with the availability of cheaper nuts in the global market from Vietnam.
By BOA Bureau