The Tamil Nadu Cashew Processors and Exporters’ Association (TNCPEA) has urged the government to abolish the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) cess on cashews to ensure a level-playing field for the traders.
In a memorandum addressed to Neyveli MLA Saba Rajendran, the secretary of the association, M. Ramakrishnan, said that the crisis-hit cashew industry was already struggling to stay afloat due to stiff competition from Vietnam which had been offering competitive prices in the International markets.
He said the total production of raw cashew nuts in the State was around 35,000 tonnes per annum, as against the cashew manufacturing industry’s requirement of 4 lakh tonnes per annum. To meet this shortfall, Tamil Nadu was importing raw cashew nuts from East and West Africa, to ensure round-the-year employment to the workforce of cashew manufacturing units and to sustain their operations.
Stating that the APMC cess of 1 % was making the industry uncompetitive in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Ramakrishnan said many other cashew-producing States had not regulated raw cashew nuts. Manufacturers in the State were at a disadvantage on account of this.
If the APMC cess continued, manufacturers in Tamil Nadu had to shift their factories out of the notified areas/districts resulting in unemployment. The Tamil Nadu government had already granted APMC cess exemption for many products like maize and cotton, he said.
Mr. Ramakrishnan pointed out that the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was solely responsible for all activities related to raw cashew nut and cashew kernels marketing and production. Hence, there was no need for APMC to regulate trade in raw cashew nuts, which would only result in duplication.
The association demanded the government to consider the serious impact on the industry due to the APMC cess and to exempt cashews from the purview of APMC.