Proposal to set up cashew board: Jairam

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Hyderabad, Aug 22 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh today said there was a proposal to set up a cashew board on par with the coffee and rubber boards to promote the cashew production and its marketing in the country.

Talking to newspersons here in connection with the signing of (MoU) between Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Paderu in Visakhapatnam district and Nandi Foundation, a public charitable trust, to create market channel organic certification and provide good market price for coffee produced by the tribals, he said the proposal had already been sent to the Government.

There was a demand to set up the board in Cochin, as Kerala was number one in processing cashew. However, Andhra Pradesh was the second largest producer of cashew and the State Government could take up the matter with the Union government to set up the board in Hyderabad.

Mr Jairam said the Union government and the state Government had opened a new window for marketing the coffee by signing an MoU with Nandi Foundation. The coffee board has taken up various measures to increase the coffee plantation in Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam District to improve the economic conditions of the tribals, he added.

The minister said the ITDA started supporting coffee gardens in the fields of tribal farmers from 1996 and it had supported nearly one lakh acre so far and Andhra Pradesh Forest Development Corporation (APFDC) was holding coffee gardens in about 10,000 acre and coffee boards in 150 acre.

He said the coffee was the most remunerative crop among all horticulture and agriculture crops and on an average, the coffee farmer was getting Rs 15,000 per acre.

He asked the Nandi Foundation to create awareness among the farmers on organic coffee, which would fetch more price for them and also more demand for export. The foundation should encourage organic pepper, which would fetch Rs 24,000 per acre for the farmers, he added.

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