Interviews




M Gangadhar Nayak

Director of Cashew Research, Puttur


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Availability of raw cashew nut in the country is not sufficient to meet the need of cashew processing units.  This is due to non adoption of improved cultivation practices by large and marginal farmers and also by the Cashew Corporations.


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There is no price stability for the raw nut in the market which is a factor for neglecting the crop by the growers.


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Growing cashew can be made profitable if the recommended package of practices is adopted by the farmers at regular intervals.  Cashew requires less labaour and other inputs compared to other crops.  Cashew can be grown on dry land and any type of soil. Crop also adapts well to varied climatic conditions.


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The yield can be increased by rejuvenating the existing cashew orchards of superior varieties by adopting different horticultural operations and practices.


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Crops which do not compete with cashew for sunlight and soil and nutrient resources such as annual vegetables in early part of orchard life can be grown (bringal, chillies, elephant foot yam etc as rainfed crop).


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Crops which do not compete with cashew for sunlight and soil and nutrient resources such as annual vegetables in early part of orchard life can be grown (bringal, chillies, elephant foot yam etc as rainfed crop).


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Cashew is a dry fruit as the nut is the true fruit and cashew apple is a pseudo fruit. 


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In the early stage of cashew orchard, intercrops like vegetables, elephant foot yam,  pineapple etc can be grown which will fetch additional income to the farmers till the cashew plants start yielding. Once it is started yielding, cashew apple can be used in preparation of several products such as juice, RTS, halwa, jam, jelly, pickle and other products including alcoholic beverage called ‘Feni’ etc


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From second year of planting, yield can be expected but stabilized yield in non high density orchard is only after 7 years and from 3rd year onwards in well managed high density orchards.


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Most of the cashew plantations in Karnataka are raised by using seedling origin and the yield is less in such plantations compared to plantations raised with the use of high yielding grafted cashew plants.  Adoption of poor management practices and crop protection measures are other factors for low yield. 


Answer

Costal belt is the traditional region for cashew cultivation.  Lack of awareness about the suitability of crop in different regions has also a reason for the non-spread of cashew in other areas.  However, farmers have taken up measures to raise cashew plantations in non traditional areas also in a profitable manner.


Answer

As cashew is having very low pre-bearing age is well managed orchards and has advantage over other perennial crops.  After harvest, there is minimum process for disposal of raw cashew nuts.  In well managed orchards with low inputs, labour and irrigation, the crop will be superior over other plantation crops. In well managed ultra density orchards, the investment can be recovered from 3rd year onwards with the present price scenario for raw nut and thereafter with minimum management, maximum output can be expected in this crop.  Well managed ultra density orchards with an input of approximate value of Rs. 50,000/- including labour charges, an approximate gross profit of 1.5 lakhs can be realized.


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43 released cashew varieties are available at national level besides about 10-15 varieties for local needs developed by few Agricultural Universities. 


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Cashew trees are short and its canopy spread is more compared to other trees.  Wherever tea is grown, cashew has not been tried.  This cannot be a suitable shade crop as it has dense canopy and shallow growth. 


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Cashew is grown in almost all types of soils, it performs better in well drained, deep and fertile forest soils, red sandy loam and light coastal soil with a high water holding capacity and rich in organic matter.  Cashew trees have no cold tolerance and are susceptible to frost damage below 10 degree Celsius. Cashew trees can be grown in areas of high rainfall and humidity, but it will not produce well in soil with water logging as it may damage the roots. However, small scale plantations of cashew is being raised in places like Bellary, Chitradurga, Honnalli, Shimoga, Bangalore, Mysore, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Mandya, Pavagada, Chikkamagaluru, Gadag and Tumuku on trial basis and are successful.


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Presently, cashew apple is fully utilized only in Goa for preparation of Alcoholic beverage called ‘Fenni’.  Other states have not been permitted by the respective state governments. Other non alcoholic products are not popular among consumers.  If, the cashew apple products are popularized among the consumers, there will be high demand for cashew apple for preparation of apple based products.


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Systematic planting of cashew with high yielding varieties, adoption of proven management practices and pest control measures, cashew cultivation will be more profitable than any other wood trees. 


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Horticultural Departments of State Governments, Directorate of Cashewnut & Cocoa Development, Kochi, (Govt. of India) and NGOs are supporting for increasing production and productivity of cashew by way of extending subsidies, planting materials and expert advice on cultivation and management.


Answer

If good supportive price is fixed for raw cashewnut, farmers will be enthusiastic to engage in cashew production which will increase the raw nut production in the country to meet the growing demand of processing industry.  Losers will be the processors and exporters.  The industry need to support farmers to grow cashew profitably.  Growers look for other options of different crops if the crop is not remunerative for them.


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Keeping in view the cashew expansion programme taken up by the cashew corporations, forest departments and other development agencies and present scenario, it is true that cashew production will grow considerably in days to come.


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There are more than 50 recognized Regional Cashew Nurseries established in different cashew growing states which can cater to the need of the farmers.  Annually more than 70 lakh cashew grafts of high yielding varieties are being supplied to farmers and other development agencies.


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Fertilizer usage will bring higher synchronized production in cashew over organics.  The quality of the end product cannot be different with the use of organics or inorganics in broader sense.  No fertilizer or pesticide residues were detected in cashew which was grown organically or inorganically.


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Several success stories of cashew cultivation with ultra density planting in several states are emerging and also in huge demand.  In and around Puttur, several farms of different age group have come up.  The farms can be visited at any time with prior intimation.



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India has got vast area of land for cashew cultivation, high yielding varieties, resources, facilities, manpower, modern technology for production, processing and export.  India can be number one in cashew export if concerted efforts are made by the stakeholders.


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Cashew plantation raised with seedling origins may be replaced with high yielding grafts of cashew varieties to get maximum yield.  A well managed cashew variety may not require replacement unless there is valid reason.  Trees can yield even more than 30-40 years.  Even 100 year old trees are yielding well if they get required resources.