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Increase domestic production of cashew: expert

Staff Reporter

'Adopt bio-technological approach of using the finger print DNA'

THRISSUR: Assistant Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) K. V. Ramana has emphasised the importance of increasing the internal production of cashew so that its import can be avoided or at least minimised.

Inaugurating the all-India workshop organised by the Cashew Research Station, Madakkathra under the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) near here, on Monday, Dr. Ramana called for to conserve the country's valuable germplasm in cashew.

He said there was an urgent need for developing location-specific hybrids or varieties of cashew and the grafts of these were to be developed and used for replanting the senile plantations of India.

Recalling that cashew is the second important dollar earning crop in India, Dr. Ramana said India could produce only 5.35 lakh tonnes of raw cashew nuts in 2003-04 whereas the requirement of the domestic processing industry was 12 lakh tonnes. Thus the country had to import 6 lakh tonnes every year, causing a substantial drain in foreign exchange. The cashew industry employed around 3 lakh women workers, but it was not able to give them employment for the full year because of the wide gap in production and demand.

The highlight of the workshop is the meeting of the scientists involved in the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on cashew. Director of Research of the KAU D Alexander, Director of Extension M. K. Sheela, Associate Dean of the College of Forestry Luckins C. Babu, Associate Dean of the College of Horticulture GSLHV Prasada Rao, Head of the Cashew Research Station Jose Mathew and Associate Director of Research P. V. Balachandran were among those who spoke at the inaugural function.

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