Odisha Government makes Cashew Processing Unit operational in Malkangiri District

Report by Kishor Dash; Bhubaneswar: First of its kind, the Cashew Processing Unit at Mundiguda under Khairput block limits in Malkangiri district of Odisha,some 600 km from the state capital, has become operational thereby boosting the economy of the region by creating a better market for the primitive tribe Bonda tribe people who usually go for large scale Cashew nut farming in Mudulipada, Andrahal , Badbel, Banguda and Padiaguda areas under Muduliguda and Andrahal panchyats of Bonda Hill. Thanks to the , 2011 batch young Odisha cadre IAS officer & District Collector K.Sudarshan Chkaravarthy for opening a new vista to provide the Bonda youths, particularly women a descent means of livelihood.

Set up at an estimated cost of around 80 lakh rupees , the processing unit with all latest technology based machineries has become operational recently. While Rs.50 lakh has been sanctioned under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for the construction of the building, ITDA has procured the machineries and met other expenditures, he said adding 40 Bonda youths , mostly the women have been engaged in the Unit to crack, pry, peel, roast and bag the cashews, said ITDA Project Administrator R.K. Gond to OdishaDiary They are being paid Rs.200 per day.Two trained ITI fitters , who are the natives of Mudulipada have also been employed to run machineries, Gond added.

I am happy to engaged in the Cashew processing unit to earn a descent means of livelihood, said 30 year old Sukridhangda Majhi, a native of Mudulipada to OdishaDiary. Twenty five year old Gurubari Muduli of Mudulipada also expressed similar feeilings.

Cashew farming is being done in predominantly in Bonda dominated areas under Mudulipada and Andrahal panchyats of Khairput block over the years but there was no market facility for the cashew farmers for which they were forced to sell their produce to the middle men at a low price of Rs.80-100 per kg. But, now the raw Cashew nuts are being purchased from the farmers Rs.140 per kg directly at their door steps thereby paying them at least 40-60 rupees more, district administration sources here said.

While, Bonda Development Agency (BDA) was procured 53 quintals of raw cashew nuts , Rs.140 per kg directly from the farmers , Didayi Development Agency (DDA) has procured 83 quintals of nuts from the farmers. A total of 136 quintals of cashew has been procured and sent to the processing unit.

Terming the processing Unit as a life changing project for the Bonda people, Collector K. Sudarshan Chakravarthy said the main objective of the project is to do away with the middle men business thereby allowing the farmers to get more benefit, to provide the Bonda youths a dignified source of livelihood , creating a better a market facility for them. We have already got registered with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and all the farmers selling cashew nuts to the unit to be registered under societies act soon, he said.

While 5-10 percent of the total annual profit of the unit will be used for the maintenance and further development of the unit, the rest amount will be equally shared among the members. The prices of processed cashews will be fixed depending on its quality & structure. The selling of cashew will start soon through ITDA, OLM counters followed by the wholesale and retail marketing of the product once the packing of the processed nuts starts Chakravarthy said adding efforts are also on for the online shopping of the nuts at Amazon and others.

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