Tuesday, July 28, 2020

‘Bastar cashew’: New source of income for forest dwellers in Maoist-hit region


Successful plantation of cashew is available in Bastar on nearly 15,000 hectares of land with the production capacity of 10,000 quintals.

Updated: Jul 28, 2020 13:56 IST

By Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times Raipur

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bastar-cashew-new-source-of-income-for-forest-dwellers-in-maoist-hit-region/story-GaE0nQGyjOiBISeB9AJV2K.html

The forest department claimed nearly 6000 forest dwelling families have collected cashew this year and each family has earned the average income of Rs 10000 in Bastar
The forest department claimed nearly 6,000 forest dwelling families have collected cashew this year and each family has earned the average income of Rs 10,000 in Bastar. (HT Photo)

Chhattisgarh’s forest department has launched a ‘Bastar cashew’ programme and increased the support price of the cash crop to provide employment to forest dwellers in the Maoist-hit region.

The state government has increased the support price of cashew to Rs 100 per kg, which has provided employment to forest dwellers during the coronavirus pandemic and has also increased the collection of cashew to 5,500 quintals.

Successful plantation of cashew is available in Bastar on nearly 15,000 hectares of land with the production capacity of 10,000 quintals.

The forest department claimed nearly 6,000 forest dwelling families have collected cashew this year and each family has earned the average income of Rs 10,000 in Bastar.




Forest department officials claimed that the government has created a mechanism through which tribals are getting benefits and there has been an increase in the production of the cash crop as well.

“In the 70s, the climatic condition of Bastar was found suitable for cashew farming and hence, cashew saplings were sown in its forest areas. But after the plantation, no proper mechanism was developed for its nourishment and conservation. No attention was paid towards its processing,” Rakesh Chaturvedi, Chhattisgarh’s principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), said.

“This is the reason why most of the cashew produced in the forests is sold in Odisha through middlemen and as a result, forest dwellers do not get a fair price for the cashew they produce,” Chaturvedi added.


Chaturvedi also said that the present government took the issue seriously and tried to developed this sector to generate employment for tribals and forest dwellers.

“The state government has increased the support price of cashew to Rs 100 per kg from Rs 50-Rs 60, which has provided employment to forest dwellers in this time of corona crisis and has also increased the collection of cashew to 5,500 quintals,” he said.

The department said the cashew processing work in Bastar is being conducted under the technical guidance of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR’s) directorate of cashew research in Karnataka’s Puttur.


Officials said cashew seeds yield about 22% cashew after processing. This year about 1,200 quintals of cashew will be produced from the 5,500 quintals of cashew collected. This ‘cashew business’ set up by women self-help groups (SHG) is expected to generate a profit of nearly Rs 30-50 lakh this year.

The incentive amount will be distributed to the families involved in the collection and processing of cashew nut, as it is done for tendu leaves.

The forest dwellers will benefit at three levels.


First, they will get a fair price for cashew seeds, 300 families will get jobs through processing and thirdly, the distribution of 100% of the profit received from trade, officials said.

“I work in the processing unit of cashew and earning about Rs 3,000 per month, which is enough for me. Many of tribal women like me have benefitted due to the Bastar cashew production,” Belabali, a resident of Bakwand village of Jagdalpur district, said while speaking to HT over the phone.

Around 6% of the country’s minor forest produce comes from Chhattisgarh. The scheme for purchase of minor forest produce under the minimum support price (MSP) scheme is applicable throughout the country.


A government press release said that 76% of the minor forest produce procurement in the entire country has been done in Chhattisgarh in the last four months under the scheme.

“In the last four months, small forest produce of about Rs 148 crore was purchased in the entire country, out of which small forest produce worth Rs 112 crore was procured by the state of Chhattisgarh. This work was conducted through 3,500 women self-help groups in the state. About 40,000 women went from house to house to procure forest produce,” the release added.

“Earlier, only seven minor forest produce were being purchased under the minimum support price scheme in the state, which has now been increased to 31 minor forest produce,” it added

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