Opening up of the state economy following the COVID-19 restrictions is helping the Goan cashew industry.
Stakeholders in the local industry, comprising 40-odd processing units and a sizeable number of retail shopkeepers selling cashew nuts, Tuesday said the situation is improving on the demand front after initial fears that 2020-21 would be a total disaster due to the pandemic.
According to stakeholders, demand for cashew in the state has picked up due to the influx of domestic tourists together with the revival of the HoReCa sector (hotels, restaurants and catering). The other major positive feature of the post-pandemic world is recovery of the ‘broken cashew’ market witnessed during the festival of Diwali.
Around 25-30 per cent of the production of processing units is in broken cashews. Although sold at a discount to whole cashews, the broken cashews have robust demand from makers of ‘chivda’, ‘kaju-katli’, ‘laddoos’, ice-creams, biscuits etc.
“The industry feared that it would be landed with ‘broken’ inventory due to the pandemic. But with a Diwali bringing back demand for broken pieces with a bang from sweet makers, even that hurdle has been addressed,” said Rohit Zantye, president of Goa Cashew Processors Association.
He said the bulk of broken nuts from local units find their way to outside buyers in metros such as Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat. “Broken nuts in 2020-21 are quoting at steep discount compared to the previous year but the industry is glad that it is clearing unsold stock,” said Zantye. He added that the only segment that is presently slow-moving is very fine particles of cashew that are used in thickening of curries and mostly purchased by local wedding caterers and hotels.
“Weddings have started again but they are on a small scale, while hotels are also not fully functional. Only the full revival of the Goan tourism and hospitality industry will help us sell the minute pieces of cashew,” said the president of GCPA.
According to Zantye, retail sale of cashew nuts in the state is presently at 60 per cent of its pre-COVID level. Further, there is no decrease in over-the-counter price of nuts. “The situation which we thought would be very bad because of COVID-19 has turned out to be not so bad. All in all this is going to be an average year for the Goan cashew industry,”