former commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday urged the Maharashtra government to help cashew farmers of the Konkan region who are facing problems due to the lockdown.
“Several thousands of tonnes of #cashew crop needs to be marketed immediately.#Farmers in #Konkan, will lose their only source of income. Requesting @CMOMaharashtra @OfficeofUT to address this urgently. Marketing, supply chain ,transportation issues,need coordinated efforts,” he said in a tweet.
He added that freight rates have been increased by airlines for exports of agriculture, horticulture and marine products as the aviation sector is facing challenges.
“If cargo rates are fixed appropriately, volumes can increase for them. Farmers and exporters can benefit too. It would be a win win situation,” Prabhu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sherpa for the G-20 summit, said.
A leading cashew farmer in the region Sanjay Naik said about one lakh tonne of cashew is lying as mandis are not working here.
“We need immediate help from the government. There are about 2 lakh farmers in this region. We need permission to transport this and sell in the mandis. If we will not get the permission, we will be in a big problem,” Naik said.
RK Bhoodes, former chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India, advised cashew farmers that they should dry their produce properly and pack them in jute bags.
He said the commodity should be treated as an essential commodity and the government should allow factories to operate.
“Lot of export orders are getting cancelled due to Covid 19 crisis. We are not able to ship the product as we are not able to process it due to lockdown,” he added.
Prabhu, a member of Rajya Sabha, has also donated his one month’s salary to the Prime Minister’s relief fund to strengthen the efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. He hails from Konkan region.