June 2017
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Kerala moots common brand for cashew products
(Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 28, 2017, PTI): The Kerala government today mooted the idea of having a common Kerala-Africa brand for cashew products to move together in the value chain, benefitting both.

Addressing a Diplomatic Conclave of African nations here to explore possibilities for direct procurement of raw cashew nuts to the state, State Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said one of the main issues to be discussed at the meet was the possibility of establishing a common brand for cashew products.

"We should develop a common brand Africa-Kerala or Africa-Kollam," Isaac said.

The raw cashew nuts produced in African countries is now being processed in factories in Kerala, mostly based in Kollam, and sold to multi-nationals, the Finance Minister said.

"We should think of a brand that could be jointly owned by us," he said adding procedures for the same have to be worked out.

Isaac said possibility of technological collaboration also should be explored to increase the productivity in African countries.

Another major area would be to work out ways to directly procure raw cashew from African countries to ensure uninterrupted supply of raw material needed for factories in the state, he said.

State Minister for Cashew and Fisheries Mercykutty Amma said the continuous supply of cashew nuts avoiding middlemen would ensure more income to cashew farmers in Africa and also more work days and income to around three lakh labourers in cashew factories in the state.

"It would also help explore the best value-chain results for all stakeholders in the cashew industry- producers and farmers in Africa, sellers (co-operatives and boards in Africa), buyers (State of Kerala), processors and consumers," she said.

She urged the Ministry of External Affairs to direct Indian Ambassadors to meet the concerned ministers and organisations in their respective countries to ensure formal arrangements for direct procurement of cashew nuts by the agency designated by Kerala government.

African nations are the main suppliers of cashew nuts to the 800-odd factories in the state run by Kerala Cashew Development Corporation and Kerala State Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Co-operative (CAPEX).

The state exported 68,150 tonnes of cashew and cashew kernels in 2014-15.

Diplomats from 15 African countries including Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea, Tanzania and Mozambique are attending the two-day meet.

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