Wednesday, October 5, 2011

India: ‘No festival is complete without a bit of cashew’

But how can Africa Benefit?
Indian Festival (Pix:

Brazil, China, India and the United States of America (USA) have been identified as new market trends and opportunities for African cashew growers.  

However, it is apparent that in India, where “no festival is said to be complete without a bit of cashew”, proves to be a great market for export of Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) from Africa, with an estimate of approximately 40 percent of the global cashew crop produced by nearly 2.5 million small scale farmers in Africa.   

 “Seven million marriages takes place in India every year; even considering 1 kilogram per marriage for only 20 percent of the marriages, is 1400 tonnes of cashew kernel per annum,” according to Mr G Srivatsava, President Foretell Business Solutions Private Limited.
“There is a family function for every conceivable occasion; child birth, naming ceremony, 25th wedding anniversary, 50th wedding anniversary.”

Kaju Usal – Mumbai Snack (Pix:
Since 2001, imports of RCN in India have grown at a mixed annual rate of 9.1 percent, while domestic RCN production slugged along at compounded annual rate of 2.7 percent, said Mr Srivatsava in a presentation entitled From Luxury Nut to Daily Snack: Lessons and Opportunities in World Markets” during a panel session on New market trends and opportunities for Africa” at the recently concluded 6th African Cashew Alliance Annual Conference in Banjul, The Gambia. 

He noted that though exports have grown by one percent within the same period, there have been losses in market share in traditional markets like the US and the Netherlands, while domestic consumption grew by 9.2 percent.

Mr Srivatsava noted that at present, the best opportunity for Africa could be the export of RCNs, with measures to improve post-harvest practices and minimizing losses could bring a value gain of at lest 10 percent, an estimated annual saving potential of US$60 million.
“The market for broken nuts in India is also emerging. It could become a specialised area in the next five years as the demand is discontinuous. Africa could look at this segment,” he said. “For developing large scale processing units, invite Indian processors to set-up units in EOUs. This would help in job creation, human resource development and lastly market access and credibility.”

World prices for Cashew reached a record high in 2011, which Mr Srivatsava attributed to the growing Indian demand as one of the key factors behind price stability, especially when the global RCN grew by 6.5 percent between 2001/02 and 2010/11. 

The reason for an increase in Indian Cashew demand is attributed the continuous supply of RCNs at affordable price; Tremendous entrepreneurial skills and adaptability of the processors; Unprecedented increase in disposable income thanks to a robust Gross Domestic Product growth; Stable and low real prices of cashew kernel; Young population with women playing a more dominant role in the family; Boom in organised retail and customer reach; Cultural diversity of the India giving way to myriad opportunities in the form of year-round demand, among other things.

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The growth momentum in Indian cashew demand is expected to continue in future, as it is built on a strong foundation. The quantum of growth is a function of steady availability and stable price environment of cashew kernel,” Mr Srivatsava noted.

Nonetheless, he said Africa should never ignore plantation, the most important source of competitiveness; Domestic consumption needs to be promoted. It is a tremendous demand stabilizer; Leverage on existing infrastructure, institutions, opportunities to market cashew in both the domestic and international markets; and Local-specific processing technologies that leverage on produce size, local employment and entrepreneurial aspirations would create maximum impact and would also lead to creation of sustainable systems.

  • Author: Modou S. Joof For The Voice Newspaper

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