Restore incentive for cashew exports: Tamil Nadu Cashew Processors and Exporters Association

Representational image.File

Representational image. File | Photo Credit: SS Kumar

The Tamil Nadu Cashew Processors and Exporters Association (TNCPEA) has urged the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to restore the export incentive for cashew kernels to 5 per cent from the existing 2.5 per cent, as its exports have dropped.

In a memorandum addressed to APEDA chairman Abhishek Dev, the secretary of the association M. Ramakrishnan said the government of India had provided an incentive of 5 per cent for export of plain cashew kernels. Subsequently, the incentive was cut to 3 per cent.

“However, with the introduction of the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme, the incentive was found to have been further cut to 2.5 per cent with a cap value of ₹8.50 per kg of cashew kernels. With cashew processing being a labour-intensive industry, the Centre should abolish the cap value and restore the export incentive for cashew kernels to 5 per cent,” he said.

The association also demanded APEDA to fix the RoDTEP rate for exports under the Advance Authorisation scheme. Earlier, under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), cashew exporters were eligible for incentives but in RoDTEP scheme, rates have not been fixed so far. This has been one of the major reasons for decline in cashew exports year by year, he said.

The association also urged APEDA to exempt imported raw cashew nuts from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) clearance in customs.

According to Mr. Ramakrishnan, raw cashew nuts are not edible and are subjected to steam boiling at 8-10 PSI for about 10-20 minutes before the shell was removed. The cashew kernel with Testa (outer covering) would be heated at 65-70 degree for about 10-11 hours before obtaining edible cashew kernel.

“During fine grading, the damaged nuts are segregated while the good ones are fumigated and treated with an infra-red process before packaging. The process eliminates contamination of the raw seed. In addition, the raw seeds and cashew kernels are treated separately. Hence, the norms of edible nuts should not be applied to cashew kernels,” he said.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said the FSSAI through a notification in 2017 had issued directions regarding exemption for raw cashew nuts. However, the FSSAI was now insisting on customs clearance for importing raw cashew nuts. The Ministry should exempt FSSAI clearance and permit imports at seaports across the country, he demanded.

The association also urged APEDA to increase the rates under the interest equalisation scheme and bring them to the earlier level of 5% from the present 3% as exports are in need of additional support.

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