|Workers process cashew nuts at the Dong Nai Food and Agricultural Product Processing & Import Export Co. Despite the strong growth in recent years, the cashew industry is facing many challenges, including a fall in area, threatening its development. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HCM CITY (VNS) — The strong growth in recent years notwithstanding, the cashew industry encounters many challenges, including a fall in area, threatening its development.
This requires a development strategy to enable the industry to develop in a sustainable manner in the coming years, according to the Department of Crop Production.
The department along with other agencies and the Viet Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has drawn up one for the period until 2020, Nguyen Van Hoa, the department's deputy general director, said.
It held a seminar in HCM City yesterday to discuss the strategy with scientists, businesses, farmers, and other stakeholders before submitting it to the Government for approval.
The industry has achieved impressive growth, making Viet Nam one of the world's largest cashew exporters since 2006.
Exports were worth US$1.47 billion last year, the country's fourth largest agricultural exports after rice, coffee, and rubber. They are expected to top $1.8 billion this year, he said.
But it now faces several challenges, including a shrinking of cultivation area and unstable output, Hoa said.
Nguyen Nhu Hieu, deputy head of the department's industrial crop division, said ageing trees and abnormal weather patterns have decreased yields, and many growers prefer other crops for higher profits, which has reduced the area under the nut.
"Area under cashew shrank by 107,392ha in the last seven years to 326,037ha last year.
"Domestic production feeds only 30 per cent of processing capacity and is reducing."
He said the development strategy envisages the area remaining at 300,000-320,000ha, producing 400,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts a year, meeting 40 per cent of processing demand.
The industry plans to increase the rate of fully processed nuts to satisfy the requirements of customers, add more value, and boost domestic consumption, he said.
The strategy also calls for reviewing and tweaking cashew zoning plans, replacing aged cashew trees, developing inter-cropping models, and developing high-quality seedlings and advanced farming techniques.
Modern technologies and equipment will be used, products diversified to meet increasing demand from customers, companies will focus on building brands and promoting their products.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas chairman, urged the Government to support farmers in planting cashew trees to replace old ones, adopt policies to encourage firms investing in deep processing, and strengthen inspection of exports.
Nguyen Thi Kim Nga, chairwoman of the Binh Phuoc Cashew Association, said the strategy should help improve communications to enable farmers to understand the Government's new policies, embrace new technologies, and obtain other benefits.
Nguyen Van Rung, a cashew grower in southern Dong Nai Province, said the industry should consider transplanting cashew seedlings, adding their productivity is very high.
At the seminar, 51 outstanding cashew farmers from 10 provinces received a Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vinacas was conferred the Labour Medal, Second Class, for its contribution to socio-economic development. — VNS