HCM CITY (VNS)— Global cashew demand is expected to be stronger than last year, but Viet Nam's exports are likely to diminish due to lower output and stocks, according to the Viet Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas).
In the first two months of the year the country exported 33,000 tonnes worth US$240 million, representing an increase of 60.7 per cent in volume and 35.5 per cent in value year-on-year, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas chairman, said.
Viet Nam had earned $1.7 billion from exports of 200,000 tonnes of cashew nut and cashew-based products last year, he said.
The value could be the same as last year, but volumes would definitely be down, he said.
Due to prolonged hot weather, cashew output is forecast to fall, he said.
"Unlike last year when more than 200,000 tonnes of inventories were carried over from 2011, [there is] less than 100,000 tonnes this year."
The cashew industry faces three main difficulties: a shortage of raw materials, too many exporters, and volatile prices.
Unable to meet demand, processors import raw cashew from Cambodia, Ivory Coast, and other African countries to process for export.
But importing from African countries caused risks, especially with regard to quality because they had a lot of old cashew still in stock, Thanh said.
"Importers should therefore strengthen quality checks," he said.
The prices of raw cashew nut in the domestic market were at VND29,000-VND30,000 a kilo depending on quality.
This means companies could incur losses if they do not have good export contracts.
Last year some 330 businesses exported cashew, making the industry unwieldy and hard to oversee.
The association plans to work with relevant agencies to resolve this problem. — VNS