Cashew harvest drops by 40%

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Sri Lanka’s cashew nut harvest this year has dropped by 40% from the average yearly harvest due to the weather conditions that prevailed prior to reaping, The Morning Business learns.

Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation (SLCC) Chairman Saranga Ratnayake stated that the weather that prevailed with a heavy rainfall and strong winds might have possibly affected the decline of this year’s harvest.

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“The cashew nuts form from the cashew flower. The delicate clusters of flowers had been blown away by the strong wind and the heavy rainfall,” she said, explaining the impact of the weather which later resulted in the deterioration of the cashew harvest.

Further elaborating on the loss of the harvest this year, Ratnayake said that not only the flowers, but also the drupes – the stage when flowers develop into a greyish-green, kidney-shaped fruit before the stage of ripening – had fallen from its stem with the torrent of rain.

Apart from rainfall, the SLCC Chairman stated that research conducted by the SLCC Research Division, together with the Wayamba University, found out that usually the crop drops once in three years.

“Cashews can be harvested once a year. Following three seasons of crop at a stretch, the cashew harvest drops,” said Ratnayake, noting that this too could have led to the drop in the cashew harvest this year.

However, Ratnayake optimistically said: “Next year, we anticipate the cashew harvest to be improved, as it has been indicated by the research results because it is not due to a plantation matter, but solely depends on the weather. We took the data of 10 years in order to conduct this research.”

She implied that the research results cannot be incorrect since the research was not merely taking the statistics of a few years but the results of a decade.

The annual cashew requirement of the country remains at 25,000 metric tonnes (MT), but the cashew harvest for this season of the year has only reached 12,000 MT. Therefore, in order to meet the yearly requirement of Sri Lanka, discussions are taking place within the SLCC for the interference of it to import cashews, Ratnayake added.

“We are discussing the interference of the SLCC as the cashew requirement is higher than the cashew harvest of the country at the moment, since ban on importing cashews is still in effect,” Ratnayake said.

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