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Goa must get bullish to capture a large share of $2.9 Billion Cashew industry

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The India Cashew Market size is estimated at USD 2.40 billion in 2024, and is expected to reach USD 2.9 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 3.80% during the forecast period (2024-2029) according to Mordor Intelligence Report.

India is among the major cashew-producing countries globally. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), in 2022, the cashew industry has much economic significance as it employs more than 10 lakh people on farms and factories in rural areas. The cultivation of cashew in India covers a total of 0.7 million hectares of land, and the country produces over 0.8 million tonnes (MT) annually.

In recent years, the cashew market has seen a rapid shift in the consumption pattern across India, primarily owing to flavored assorted cashew products occupying an increased share in the retail market space. In India, cashew is grown in the peninsular areas of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal. Among these, Kerala is the largest producing state.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, regular consumption of nuts, including cashews, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 37%. This finding is likely to boost the use of cashews in manufacturing healthy snack bars, which offer a nutritious alternative to high-calorie chocolate bars.

With increasing health consciousness, consumers are choosing to snack healthy, owing to which the demand for flavored cashews is rising in India. In India, cashew nuts are available as roasted, salted, flavored, and coated with spices, honey, etc. Value-added products, like cashew powder, butter, and drink, are available in the market. However, the cashew market in the country is likely to be hampered as the local population prefers other lighter snacks, available at lower prices, for on-the-go snacking.

As the Indian cashew market is projected to grow from USD 2.40 billion in 2024 to USD 2.9 billion by 2029, it presents a significant opportunity for Goa to enhance its participation and economic benefits in this lucrative sector.

Economic Diversification and Rural Employment

Goa’s economy, traditionally reliant on tourism, mining, and fishing, can benefit immensely from diversifying into agro-industries like cashew processing. Expanding its cashew industry would provide stable employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas where farming and processing activities are concentrated. The sector currently supports numerous small-scale farmers and processing units, and increasing its share would bolster local economies and reduce reliance on seasonal tourism.

Goa has a strong foundation in cashew processing, with about 30 units evenly split between large and small production facilities. This existing infrastructure provides a solid base for scaling up operations. By investing in modernizing and expanding these processing units, Goa can increase its output, improve product quality, and enhance competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.

Government Support and Policy Benefits

The Indian government’s favorable policies, such as 100% FDI in the B2B e-commerce sector and various agricultural subsidies, can be leveraged to boost Goa’s cashew industry. Local government initiatives supporting agro-based industries and export-oriented units can provide financial incentives and technical assistance, further enhancing the growth potential of Goa’s cashew sector.

Sustainable Agriculture Practices

Increasing its share in the cashew business would also encourage sustainable agricultural practices in Goa. Cashew farming is environmentally sustainable and can improve soil health and biodiversity. Promoting organic and sustainable farming practices can enhance the appeal of Goan cashews in premium markets, catering to consumers who prioritize sustainability.

Innovation and Value Addition

Investing in research and development to innovate new cashew products can help Goa stay ahead in the competitive market. Developing unique products, such as cashew-based dairy alternatives, health bars, and fortified snacks, can attract health-conscious consumers. Collaborating with food technologists and marketers can help in creating high-demand products that fetch better prices.

Enhancing Brand Goa

Promoting cashews as a signature product of Goa can strengthen the state’s brand identity. Leveraging the state’s recognition as a premier tourist destination can help in marketing Goan cashews as a must-buy specialty product, thereby boosting sales and brand value. Initiatives such as Geographical Indication (GI) tagging can further authenticate and enhance the marketability of Goan cashews.

Creation of Employment

Increasing the area under cashew cultivation will create more jobs for farmers, laborers, and agronomists. Given that cashew farming is labor-intensive, particularly during planting, maintenance, and harvesting seasons, expanding cultivation areas can significantly boost rural employment.

Goa has established cashew processing units that can be scaled up. Expanding existing facilities and setting up new ones can create jobs in various roles, including sorting, roasting, shelling, and packaging. These jobs can offer stable employment for local populations.

Developing value-added cashew products such as flavored nuts, cashew butter, and cashew milk can further create jobs in processing, quality control, product development, and marketing. The focus on high-quality and diversified products can enhance employment opportunities in processing plants.

The cashew industry requires robust logistics for transportation of raw cashews to processing units and distribution of finished products. Investments in supply chain infrastructure can create jobs in transportation, warehousing, and inventory management.

With a focus on export markets, there will be a need for skilled workers in customs handling, export documentation, and international logistics. This can generate specialized employment opportunities in the logistics sector.

The rise of e-commerce and retail distribution channels for cashew products will create employment in retail management, merchandising, and customer service roles. Specialty stores and online platforms selling cashew products can drive job creation in the retail sector.

Goa’s reputation as a tourist destination can be leveraged to promote cashew-based agro-tourism. Visitors can be offered tours of cashew plantations, processing units, and tasting sessions of cashew products. This can create jobs in tourism management, hospitality, and event coordination.

Promoting local artisanal cashew products at tourist spots and markets can drive sales and create jobs in local crafts and retail sectors, enhancing the tourism experience with unique, locally-produced goods.

By increasing its share in the USD 2.9 billion cashew business, Goa can significantly enhance its economic landscape. The combination of existing processing capabilities, supportive government policies, and global market trends presents a golden opportunity for Goa to strengthen its cashew sector. Focused efforts on innovation, sustainable practices, and effective marketing can ensure that Goa not only secures a larger share of the market but also establishes itself as a key player in the global cashew industry.

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