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Poor crop hurts cashew farmers

Update: March, 20/2017 - 09:00
Cashew flowers ruined by bad weather and diseases in Bình Thuận Province’s Bù Gia Mập District. The district has over 41,000ha of cashew trees. By the middle of last month, over 30 per cent of the area had been hit by plant diseases. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – Many farmers in the southern provinces of Bình Thuận, Bình Phước and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu have been encountering difficulties due to a poor cashew crop caused by bad weather and plant diseases.

Nguyễn Đình Chương, a farmer who has four hectares of cashew trees in Bình Phước’s Bù Đăng District, said: “We harvested two to three tonnes of cashew nuts a year in the previous years. This year, when cashew prices have gone up to VNĐ40,000–45,000 per kilogramme, we have a poor crop.”

Many trees gave no fruits at all, he said.

Bù Đăng has nearly 60,000ha under cashew, the largest in Bình Phước. But over 865ha have been damaged by insects while some other areas have suffered a long drought.

Ngô Văn Tâm, an experienced cashew grower in Bình Thuận Province, said he harvested very little cashew from his two hectares of land this year, blaming it on untimely rains and white frost.

Bình Thuận has some 18,000ha under cashew, mainly in the districts of Đức Linh, Tánh Linh and Hàm Tân.

With over 10,000ha, Đức Linh accounts for the largest cashew growing area in the province.

According to the Việt Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas), in many areas farmers completely lost their cashew crop, while in other areas they harvested only 40-70 per cent of the normal output.

This year total output has dropped by half.

Some 26,000 tonnes of cashew products were exported in the first two months, a 26.2 per cent fall year-on-year. Earnings were down 12 per cent to US$232 million.

Nguyễn Đức Thanh, chairman of Vinacas, said: “Cashew prices are on the rise in the world market, and higher than last year. Cashew nuts sell for $9.5 per kilogramme while unprocessed cashew sells for $1,800 per tonne. Cashew prices could increase further.”

According to Nguyễn Văn Lãng, an expert on cashew, the country’s output is not enough for the processing companies and they import raw nuts from Ivory Coast.

Given the rising cashew prices and poor harvest, large volumes of raw cashew are likely to be imported this year.

Thanh said if this year local output dropped by 200,000 tonnes, processors would import 700,000-800,000 tonnes.VNS

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