Indian cashew exports to touch new high this fiscal
KOCHI: Indian cashew exports have reached a new high of Rs4,624 crore, surpassing last year's figure, with one more month to go in the fiscal 2014.
The possibility of exports touching Rs5,000 crore is not ruled out as the exporters could send more shipments in the last month. In 2012-13, cashew exports stood at Rs4,420 crore, which was the highest till now. The fall in rupee value during the year has helped in raising the total value of cashew exports.
Though the volumes have been down in certain months, the value has remained high. For instance in February 2014, the quantity of cashew export is lower by 12per cent at 7,009 tonne. However, the value is up by 6 per cent at Rs315 crore.
The total quantity, too, has almost reached the level in 2012-13 at 1,09,958 tonne at the end of February 2014. In the previous year the total quantity exported touched 1,10,306 tonne.
Higher exports have been achieved despite a 14per cent drop in raw cashew imports at 7,32,478 tonne till the end of February 2014. "Rising prices of raw cashew imported fromTanzania in the last few months have led to slowdown in processing, squeezing the export volumes. As a result many processing factories in Kerala have stopped working,'' said P Somarajan, proprietor of Kailas Cashew Exports. The raw cashew price has eased after touching a high of over $1,400 per tonne.
The raw cashew from east African countries has been traditionally dearer than those from the west African regions, where the harvest has begun. "But this time the prices have been high at the start of the season at $1,150 per tonne. It has declined by $100 now, but is still high,'' he added. India imports 8 to 9 lakh tonne of raw cashew every year.
While the raw nut price remains high, the cashew kernel price has been hovering in the range of $3.15 to 3.20 per pound, a factor which has been worrying the exporters.
"At the price we have been buying raw cashew, we should be getting a minimum of $3.40 per pound. But Indian exporters have been compelled to export at the above price, the rate at which Vietnam, the major supplier in the global market now, sells,'' said Babu Oommen, proprietor of Alphonsa Cashew Industries. Some processors, who had stock of raw cashew nuts from the previous year with them made a killing by selling to other processors. Better domestic production at over 7 lakh tonne helped the exporters to tide over the lower imports to a certain extent.