HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam's cashew exports in 2013 will be the same as last year at about 220,000 tonnes, according to the Viet Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas).
Speaking at a conference in HCM City yesterday, Nguyen Van Chieu, Vinacas deputy chairman, said enterprises exported 18,479 tonnes of cashew worth US$109.7 million in January.
The shipments marked an increase of 52.86 per cent in volume, but the average export price in January, $5,939 per tonne, marked a reduction of 20.5 per cent over the same period last year, Chieu said.
The US, EU and China are the main importers of Vietnamese cashew products.
Delegates at the conference said farmers can enjoy a bumper crop this year if the rainy season begins early.
On the other hand, "if the rains do not come soon, cashew flowers will fade, badly affecting the yield," said Le Quang Luyen, chairman of the Phuc An Company.
Ta Quang Nguyen of the Hoang Son 1 Company said that with the prolonged hot weather it is experiencing, the cashew crop in southern Binh Phuoc Province is expected to end between the end of next month and early April.
It will not be prolonged to the end of April or middle of May as in previous years, he said.
Pham Ngoc Khiem, representative of Donafood Dong Nai, said that he and other Vinacas members had come to the "initial conclusion" that the weather is likely to be favourable for cashew trees to develop without diseases this year.
Their assessment was made after visiting gardens in southern Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Binh Duong provinces, three major cashew-growing areas in the country, before the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
However, with the current hot weather, the cashew crop may end early this year due to a lack of water, he said.
Farmers in many provinces have started to harvest cashew since early this month.
The price for cashew was currently about VND22,800-VND23,000 a kilo in Dong Nai Province and VND23,000-VND23,500 in Binh Phuoc Province, Khiem said.
"Cashew quality this year has been very good, with a loss rate of 10-12 per cent compared to 15 per cent in previous years," he added.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas chairman, said the association will organise another field trip to the three key cashew cultivation provinces so that it can come up with more specific recommendations for the industry.
With local supply falling short of demand, enterprises will need to import about 400,000 tonnes of raw cashew from other countries to be processed for export, Vinacas deputy chairman Chien said.
Domestic enterprises imported 25,430 tonnes of raw cashew worth $24.3 million in January, up 64.5 per cent in volume over the same period last year, mostly from Cambodia, Ivory Coast and other African countries.
In general, the quality of raw cashew imported from India, Tanzania, Nigeria and other countries is much better than last year, he said.
However, Thanh said that enterprises faced many risks in importing raw cashew from African countries, especially regarding quality, because they had a lot of old cashew still in stock.
Managing the quality of imported raw cashew is very important, he said, adding that local enterprises must act together in carrying out this task. — VNS