Increase in coal price has led to the increase in the prices of cashew by-products such as cashew shell cake and cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL).
Santosh D’Silva, President of the Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers’ Association (KCMA) and a leading producer of cashew by-products such as CNSL and cashew shell cake, told BusinessLine that the recent increase in coal price has led to the increase in the prices of cashew shell and cashew shell cake.
Cashew shell cake is getting a record price of around ₹9 a kg. The average price for this was around ₹4.5 a kg. He said the price of cashew shells also has gone up from around ₹6-7 a kg a month ago to ₹12 a kg.
Coal price hike helps
On the price increase, D’Silva said some sectors such as boilers, paper mills, food industries and pharmaceuticals are not getting enough quantities of coal to meet their needs. This has led to the increase in the price for cashew shell cake. Because of this, the price of cashew shell also increased.
G Giridhar Prabhu, Executive Chairman of the Mangaluru-based Achal Industries Pvt Ltd, a major cashew producer and exporter, said cashew shell is an important industrial raw material. It goes into friction dust and lining for the automobile industry. It is also converted into cardanol, which makes its way into the laminates industry.
Prabhu said that Karnataka processes around 2 lakh tonnes of raw cashewnuts and around 1.4 lakh tonnes of cashew shells. More than 30 expeller operators within cashew industry in Karnataka absorb the shells produced in the region. This in turn produces 98,000 tonnes of cashew shell cakes.
On the CNSL price, D’Silva said the price had touched an all-time low of ₹15 a kg in 2015. Now it is in the range of ₹38 a kg. He said the price of the furnace oil goes up when the price of crude oil goes up in the international market. Some industries use CNSL as a substitute for furnace oil.
He said that earlier the plants producing by-products such as CNSL were focussed in States such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Now the cashew is being processed in other parts of the country, including Delhi.
He said Kolkata and Delhi were the major markets for Karnataka CNSL producers earlier. Cashew processing units have come up in States such as Odisha and Delhi in the past few years, and some of these units are also producing CNSL. Following this, the customers from Kolkata and Delhi region are preferring Odisha and Delhi as it brings down the transportation costs to them.