From frying pan to fire in this traditional sector
At first cashew factories weren’t opening due to uncooked materials scarcity, now pandemic has made life tough
When the State authorities introduced a week-long lockdown early May, Kaveri and her co-workers thought of it a short-term setback.
They thought work will resume after seven days at their manufacturing unit at Chadayamangalam as they’d left behind piles of shelled cashew in the lengthy tin-roofed room connected to the borma.
“We were waiting for the call as the nuts needed to be peeled, graded, and packed at the earliest. We waited for nearly a month,” she says.
The labourers have misplaced many working days due to the second wave and the prolonged lockdown, that too when the sector is struggling to keep afloat.
“Now, the processing unit is functional, but with minimal staff. Though I am one among few fortunate women who could return to work, I know our hardships will continue. At first the factories were not opening due to raw material shortage and now this pandemic has thrown us from frying pan to fire,” she provides.
Sheeba, a 37-year-old single mom, now has an revenue a lot decrease in contrast to pre-COVID-19 days. Her scanty financial savings had dried up by the tip of 2020 and a household of 4 is totally depending on her.
“I took up the job though the wages were not good. I had no other option and the second wave hit at a crucial time. They had promised us normal wages by March, but now we are once again back to square one. I have no idea how to deal with the mounting debt and other expenses,” she says.
Like a number of different sectors, cashew business too had incurred large losses final yr when the pandemic hit export prospects and provide chain.
The blow was too extreme because the business has been going through an unprecedented disaster for the previous few years and the second lockdown has aggravated the scenario.