Cashew cultivation in state to get a boost, says new Karnataka Cashew Development Corpn chief


PTI, Mar 2, 2024, 4:30 PM IST

Cashew cannot be a wild crop anymore, it has to be expanded, and commercially made viable, and plantations have to be managed, Karnataka Cashew Development Corporation’s new Chairperson Mamatha DS Gatty has said. She said steps will be taken to make the state a cashew cultivation hub.

”This is my vision, and I am going to take proactive steps towards making Karnataka a cashew cultivation hub through motivation, research, and actual field operations,” she added.

Speaking to PTI, Gatty said, ”The mindset about cashew cultivation has to change, plantations cannot be allowed to fend for themselves, human intervention, research inputs, and funding for increasing the land coming under cashew cultivation in the state are key features of my vision.” Cashew growers on the coast have put the onus of cashew remaining a wild crop on the scientists of the elite horticultural and cashew research institutes of the country. ”We need scientific input from the scientists and the institutes they represent for improving the cashew crop. It has remained a wild growth as the fruits of research in making cashew as a cultivable and plantation crop.” Gatty said that cashew has been considered a wild crop so far on the coast, but farmers of Bidar, Gadag, Chitradurga, Davanagere and Nanjangud feel that they have vast expanses of land in their districts that need scientific inputs to bring more land under cashew cultivation.

Farmers from landlocked areas of North Karnataka have turned their attention towards cashew as the market for the nut is increasing immensely.

”I will personally visit many places in Karnataka after assessing the viability of introducing cashew in arid districts of Karnataka. Many elite research organisations with bright minds have put in their efforts in many ways to make cashew plantations widespread in the state. But due to paucity of funding and motivation among the farmers, things have not picked up,” she said. ”To begin the campaign, I have briefed my officials to hold a workshop for at least 100 cashew farmers who are already cultivating and also those who can turn their lands into cashew plantations. This will be a combination of giving research inputs to the farmers and also giving motivational inputs to the farmers to improve their yield,” she said. The plantations in the state have to be managed under ‘orchard category level cultivation,’ she added. Another dimension for the expansion of the cultivation of cashewnut will be to ramp up the nursery development with improved types. Initially, we may need some funding push by the Central and state governments under various schemes under the national horticulture mission…In the next few weeks, we should have a road map for making cashew a viable ‘orchard management’ model in the state, Gatty said. Plant entomologists at ICAR feel that the cashew tree flowers are copious, they attract bees faster than any other tree. In the orchard setup, if the farmers can keep bee communities, the quality of yield and volume would increase. In India, per tree output was as low as 3-4 kg while it could be as high as 12-13 kg per season if scientifically managed. Cashew factories have to import cashew from South East and African countries to keep their production line moving.

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