Cashew rejuvenation scheme in DK gets lukewarm response

Cashew rejuvenation scheme in DK gets lukewarm response

Only 50 hectare covered as against the target of 700 hectare in 2013-14 

The cashew rejuvenation programme implemented by the Central government under National Horticulture Mission (NHM) to achieve self-sufficiency in the cashewnut production in the country has received lukewarm response in Dakshina Kannada district. The area under cashew cultivation in the district is 31,119 hectares. 

According to the available statistics from Horticulture Department, the programme aimed at implementing cashew rejuvenation scheme in atleast 700 hectare of orchards. However, the department has covered only 50 hectare of orchards during the year. “Lack of interest among farmers is the main reason behind poor progress in work,” the official said. 

The Central government had released Rs 1.05 crore for cashew rejuvenation programme in the district during 2013-14. The farmer is entitled for subsidy if he takes up any one of the following work—pruning of trees, maintaining water and sand, catching pits, using pesticides to protect cashew trees, using micro nutrients or other inputs, gap filling by planting saplings, buying instruments for secateur, pruning and sawing.

The government also provides subsidy for post-harvest management like processing of cashewnuts. If the project cost (cost of the infrastructure) is below Rs 24 lakh, farmers can avail a subsidy upto 40 per cent from the government under NHM. If the project cost is above Rs 50 lakh, subsidy amount will be upto 25 per cent of the investment.  

Reasons for failure

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Horticulture Department Headquarter Assistant Praveen said that compared to other crops like areca, the price of raw cashewnut is not encouraging. Citing an example he said in one acre land, maximum of 200 cashew saplings can be planted, but income is quite less when compared to arecanut. There is huge difference between the price of raw cashewnuts and processed cashewnuts. The price of raw cashew varies between Rs 40 to Rs 60, but processed cashewnut is priced between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000, depending on the grade. According to Praveen, pilferage is a headache for the cashew farmers. 

“Most of the traditional cashew farmers have their orchards away from home which don’t have any protection wall. Naturally, they don’t want to lose their fruit of hard work. Shortage of labourers to pluck and process cashewnut is another challenge faced by the growers. The department had organised various district-level programmes, invited farmers and also conducted training programmes to create awareness,” he added. 

No dearth of funds 

Horticulture department Assistant Director Pradeep D’Souza said “there was no dearth of funds. The funds meant for cashew rejuvenation programme is being utilised for other programme owing to lukewarm response from the farmers. The role of cashew industries is also important in developing interest among farmers towards cashew farming. They can train farmers on cashewnut processing and new possibilities in the area.” 

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