HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam has taken great strides in cashew nut processing technology over the past few years, with local firms making 80 per cent of the machinery used by factories in the country.
|333 Sugar Co opens a new plant for processing cashew. Domestic processors use locally-made equipment to improve production. — VNA/VNS Photo Tien Tri
The claim was made by Nguyen Thai Hoc, Chairman of the Viet Nam Cashew Association (VINACAS), at an exhibition of cashew nut processing machinery held in southern Binh Duong Province last week.
Hoc said the machines have helped reduce the problem of labour shortage faced by cashew processing factories.
Machines are now used in all phases of cashew nut processing, especially in shell cutting and peeling phases, which previously required a large number of manual workers.
Pham Van Cong, Vinacas deputy chairman, said "The cashew industry faces fierce competition from other industries in terms of attracting labourers."
Currently, most young labourers want to work for foreign invested companies, and almost all workers at local cashew processing companies are in their forties. Processing firms therefore must use machines to solve their labour shortage, he said.
Shell cutter and peeling machines helped cut about 70 per cent of labour force required in these phases, he said.
Currently, more than 50 per cent of local cashew processing factories used locally made peeling machines, Hoc said, adding that the figure was expected to reach 100 per cent in the next two-three years.
Low price is one of the main advantages of locally made machines. A factory with a daily capacity of 5,000 tonnes can save 40 per cent of its investment cost if it chooses locally made machinery over imported ones.
Apart from the price, made-in-Viet Nam machinery also scored in performance, Hoc said.
"For example, a Vietnamese shell-cutting machine that is priced one-fourth of that from Italy can cut or split shells of different sizes of cashew nuts with lower loss rates," he said.
Thanks to these advantages, Indian businesses have been ordering cashew nut processing machines from Viet Nam, he added.
Despite these advantages, Vietnamese manufacturers should focus more on improving the products' accuracy and durability, Hoc said.
According to local cashew exporters, the use of machinery in cashew processing has not only helped address the issue of labour shortage, but also increased hygiene and safety of cashew products. — VNS