Bhubaneswar: New cashew cultivation program is to be taken up on 20 thousand hectares of land in Odisha this year, informed Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Dr. Arvind Kumar Padhee, on Monday, while attending a two-day National Conference on Cashew “Encashing Technological Innovations for Production and Productivity of Cashew” organised by the Odisha State Cashew Development Corporation in collaboration with Directorate of Cashewnut & Cocoa Development (DCCD), Cochin at the Lokaseva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.
In a congratulatory message on the occasion, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Odisha is the leading producer and processor of cashewnut. The cashew sector provides employment opportunity to millions of poor people particularly women. The state of Odisha has huge potential in this sector. I believe women will take significant role for the development of cashew in the State.”
The Chief Minister also stated, “This conference with participation of eminent scientists, academician, processor, and farmers will find the solution to increase productivity by encasing recent technology.”
Padhee, who was the Chief Guest at the conference, said that Odisha’s climate and soil are very suitable for cashew cultivation. Cashew cultivation is being promoted in the tribal and backward districts of the state. Application of new technology and better quality saplings are needed to increase cashew production and productivity.
Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, said that there are many opportunities to establish new startups in cashews. He said that emphasis has to be placed on creating value added marketing along with adopting cluster approach for cashew cultivation. On the occasion of the National Conference, he proposed to publish the “Bhubaneswar Declaration” on the development of cashews.
The Vice-Chancellor of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) Prof. Pravat Kumar Roul said that three hybrid cashew varieties have been developed by the university. Along with this, a new hybrid variety called ‘King Cashew-1’ is planned to be released soon by the university. Prof. Raul said that if plants such as okra, beans etc. are cultivated as intercrops in cashew gardens, the income of farmers will increase.
Chairman of Odisha State Cashew Development Corporation, Subash Moharana, joined as the Guest of Honour and said that cashews are mainly cultivated in Odisha under organic system and Koraput cashews are in demand in the global market.
Director of Horticulture Mr. Rohit Kumar Lenka said that cashew cultivation is currently being done on 1 lakh 20 thousand hectares of land in the state. He said that the production and productivity of cashew can be increased through extensive cashew cultivation in the state and application of new technologies.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India aims to become self-sufficient in cashew production by 2029-30 and to meet domestic demand and reduce cashew imports from East and West African countries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare aims to prepare a roadmap for the development of cashew from the results of discussions by experts in the areas of production of better quality cashew saplings, integrated pest management, post-harvest management, pricing, processing, packaging and marketing in the application of technology in the organized conference.
It is worth noting that cashew is cultivated in 19 states in 11 lakh 65 thousand hectares and a total of 7 lakh 50 thousand tonnes of cashew is produced annually. There are over 4,000 cashew processing industries in the country, both organized and unorganized, with the capacity to process 17 lakh tonnes of cashews. For this, about 9 lakh tonnes of cashew worth about 9000 crore rupees have to be imported every year.
Director of DCCD Venkatesh N. Hubballi delivered the welcome speech while Sadananda Nayak, Managing Director of Odisha State Cashew Development Corporation, delivered the vote of thanks. On this occasion, leading cashew growers, cashew industrialists, research centers, cashew nurseries of the state and the country were felicitated for their outstanding achievements. The conference was attended by over 250 cashew growers, processors, experts, scientists, cashew exporters and grassroots organizations from 19 states of the country.