Cashew industry lowers export goal

Explaining why the sector has cut its export target, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas chairman, said: “We haven’t had sufficient domestic material supply, and the prices of imported raw cashews were too high and sometimes of poor quality.”

The focus this year will shift from quantity to quality by raising the value of cashew nuts with deep processing and promotion of consumption in the domestic market, he said.

Cashew output last year was equal to 50 per cent of the output in 2016 because unseasonal rains seriously affected the pollination of trees and at the same time created ideal conditions for diseases to develop on young buds and fruits, affecting productivity and quality, Thanh said.

The trees’ health was seriously affected due to disease and pests last year. Therefore, economic and technical measures are needed to help the trees recover and yield fruits this year, the association said.

The association said that localities and agencies should kill pests in cashew plantation areas to prevent disease outbreaks in the next crop.

In the long run, the sector needs quality cashew seedlings that can adapt to unfavourable weather.

The association also called on businesses and cashew farmers to develop close linkages in production and consumption of “clean” cashew nuts.

Viet Nam achieved its highest-ever cashew exports in a year in 2017 with 353,000 tonnes of cashew kernels exported for a value of $3.52 billion, a year-on- year increase of 1.9 per cent in volume and 23.8 per cent in value, it said.

Demand for the nut globally has increased by 10 per cent each year and is forecast to rise in coming years.

According to the International Nuts and Dried Fruits Council, cashews accounted for the largest market share in the global dried nut market and are expected to account for 28.91 per cent of the market by 2021, followed by walnuts.

With exports last year, Viet Nam retained a market share of over 50 per cent of total global cashew kernel export revenue ($5.5 billion), and maintained its position as one of the world’s largest cashew processors and exporters.

Thanh said the association recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to raise cashew output to one million tonnes in the next 10 years.

Under the agreement, Vinacas would provide cashew seedlings and technical support and buy the entire output, he said.

Cambodia currently has more than 100,000ha under cashew cultivation, with a total output of more than 100,000 tonnes of crude cashew nuts, a majority of which is exported to Viet Nam.

In addition, under the sector’s development plan until 2020, the Government targets to increase cashew cultivation areas as well as output, Thanh said.

These activities would help ensure raw material sources for Vietnamese cashew processors and exporters in the coming years.

Currently, domestic raw cashew nuts meet only 20-35 per cent of local demand. — VNS