We at CCFID believe in learning through working. We implement our field level learning’s at our work on regular intervals to benefit the society at large. CCFID has been involving several social researchers on a regular basis, to better understand the social problems focussing youth and women. We implement these studies to better or develop new programs which best meets the need of our beneficiaries.
The project aimed at livelihood promotion for small and marginal farmers through value chain analysis of cashew production and processing. The study was conducted in April-June, 2010 in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.
The main objective of the study was to assess the impact of value chain positioning on the livelihood status of farmers and processors. The entire study is divided into different sequential phases with their separate objectives and timeframes leading to a common objective of understanding value chain analysis of cashew and its impact on the livelihood of farmers and processors in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.
The first exercise done was identifying the major stakeholders involved in the cashew sector. Once the stakeholders were identified, through judgemental sampling technique the sample data were identified and data collection work was initiated. The methodology adopted for the data collection was the discussions with the key cashew stakeholders by using the techniques of interviews, questionnaires and Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) through field visits conducted at different villages.
An exhaustive secondary research was done to understand the value chain path of the cashew and also about various other general information regarding cashew, which will be useful in benchmarking the current performance of the farmers and processors in Cuddalore.
The next step was analysing the sample data collected from the field. This part also includes analysing how the value of the cashew gets increased throughout its life cycle and its implication on its stakeholder’s livelihood. This helped to evaluate the present scenario of cashew business in surveyed area. From these steps the major opportunities and challenges posed by the cashew value chain on the farmers and processors were examined properly. The potential for investments and employment generation was found out. The implication of Natural Resource Management (NRM) on these potential were also studied. Through the research it was found out that majority of the cashew stakeholders are not following any of the NRM practices. This has dramatically affected their sustainable flow of income from the cashew.
Armed with the research data, the solutions to the research questions were found out and the findings were analysed using various data mining techniques. Through proper diagnosis of the sample data the following results were concluded.
Throughout the survey it has been observed that similar to other industries like sugar, cotton, jute etc; the cashew industry also suffers from many problems. Low availability of raw nuts in the domestic market, declining exports and competition from other countries have become major impediments to the growth of cashew processing sector, especially in Tamil Nadu. The cashew farmers in Cuddalore suffers from many problems like unproductive land, low yielding crops, no irrigation facilities and unavailability of working capital. Similar to other farmers in the agricultural field majority of the cashew farmers’ survival depends upon the mercy of rain gods. Most of the farmers in Cuddalore are unaware of the basic NRM practices which will help them to sustain their income from cashew.
Based on the study conclusion it is recommended that extending credit only is not sufficient for sustaining the livelihoods of people. It should be supported by the other non-financial services. Increasing the awareness among the farmers about the natural resource management techniques through proper education and training will finally lead to sustainable growth in their income from cashew.
Proper risk management techniques have to be applied to minimize the loss in the cashew industry. Increasing the awareness among the farmers and processors about the role played by the middle men in the value chain of cashew and its impact on them will help them to analyse their pitfall in the business. A lot has to be done to improve their living conditions compared to the national and international benchmarks. Finally at last, CCFID should stand to its reputation and credibility by acting as a bond between the cashew stakeholders and the government for the betterment of the cashew industry in Cuddalore.