The Wanathawilluwa area in Puttalam is a paradise for this golden crop. Out of the 710 sq. km area in the Wanathawilluwa Pradeshiya Secretariat, over 35,000 acres are Cashew plantations.
However, there are dire signs of the lucrative Cashew industry disappearing from the Wanathawilluwa area for good.
With the prevailing drought conditions, farmers have been compelled to sell these trees as firewood for brick kilns in the area. The rains which followed the drought did not bring fairer times either as it also brought sicknesses and bacterial infections to the cashew trees.
Cashew farmers say that prices which used to be Rs. 3,000 per kilo have also fallen to Rs. 2,000 and they are incurring heavy losses. Farmers also say that they are severely impacted by Cashew imports to Sri Lanka.
Farmers urge authorities to address their issues and preserve the Cashew industry and their livelihood.
(Pics : Priyankara Kalupahana : Puttalam Corr.)