TT: How can farmers cash in on cashew?
Singh: Cashew can be a golden crop. It can be grown on wasteland, cultivable or barren land with minimal water and resources. All one needs are proper seeds. Returns on investment are very high
But are farmers ready?
Awareness and interest levels are growing slowly. In two-three years, we’ve grown from three districts to 10. Currently, our coverage spans 17,000 hectares of wasteland. In Jharkhand, we have several continuous farms of over 400 hectares, not available anywhere in India. We’ve earned the Centre’s appreciation for this
lSo, the future is bright.
Yes, we want to hike production by linking more farmers to cashew
Any specific target?
By 2020, we want to bring one lakh hectares under cashew cultivation. Jharkhand has 12 lakh hectares of wasteland. It spells vast scope for thousands of jobless youths. We’re also focusing on organic cashew
Tell us a bit about cashew’s history?
Cashew originated in Brazil and came to India during the 15-16th centuries via the Portuguese. Today, India is world No. 2 in cashew production, preceded only by Vietnam. The National Horticulture Board report (2012) says India produces 7.25 lakh MT a year. But we import around the same quantity from Africa
lCashew demand is that high?
Yes, it is a big burden on the exchequer, even though we import raw cashew from Africa
What are the constraints for kaju production in Jharkhand?
Lack of research and know-how
What’s the solution?
We’re encouraging entrepreneurs by disseminating information on field visits. We recently organised a national workshop for the first time. More block-level events are on the cards
What kind of subsidies and sops can one expect?
Hassle-free loans, high subsidies, help in land identification and market linkages are some. Currently, we have three units and two more are in the offing
Any thoughts on product diversity?
Yes, the focus is on directly procuring cashew from our farmers and selling under our brand. People love buying and gifting cashew