Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu), Dec 21: Shelling and processing of cashew nut, a prominent horticulture crop in Cuddalore district, has slowed down due to rain related factors prompting a section of workers to migrate to seek alternate employment.
Dotted with hundreds of acres of cashew trees, the Panrutti region here is popular for cashew growing and subsequent processes like shelling and grading before sale.
The role of labourers is significant as work like removing the outer shell from the nut is being done manually by them. However, after the rains the work has slowed down.
"We have little cashew processing work after the rains started last month," said V Shanmugam of Velanguppam village adding "there are no stocks on hand with growers and no arrivals from other markets."
"We own no cashew trees, we are paid wages according to the quantity we shell," he said. "Since there is no work now I am going to Andhra Pradesh for some other work," he said. Along with him, some other villagers too are set to go to Eluru near Vijayawada for work related to broom-making. "Seven persons are coming with me to Andhra now and others too may join, this is the present situation," he said.
In fact, like his family many other households in the village, near Panrutti, 25 kilometers from here, are labourers in cashew processing. A Dhanavalli, another cashew worker, said before the rains, there used to be lot of work for them. "Be it cultivation related work, picking up cashew from groves this (Oct-Dec) period used to get us good work," she said, adding, "however, this year it is a washout".
G Suriyagandhi and Velankanni, who are grading labourers, said the little urad inter-crop too was washed away leaving no scope for even little work in their village.
"There is at present no rural employment work too," they said. K Gopalakrishnan and Soundaravalli of another village, V Kattupalayam concurred and said "as of now there are very little supplies and consequently the processing work has terribly slowed down for the past one month."