|Workers at Dong Nai Import Export Process ing Agricultural Products and Food Co process cashew nuts for exports. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI (VNS)— The Viet Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has urged enterprises that import raw cashews to check produce carefully, following concerns over sub-standard cashew imports from Africa.
Vinacas said it had recently received complaints from about 20 Vietnamese import enterprises about the low quality of raw cashews imported from Africa.
Africa was the main supplier of raw cashews for Viet Nam, supplying an average of 400,000 tonnes per year, accounting for 50 per cent of Viet Nam's total raw cashew import volume.
The director of Hoang Thanh Company in southern Long An Province, Nguyen Thi Tu, said the company imported 200 tonnes of raw cashew from Africa during 2011, but the nuts were of low quality.
She said the company was yet to receive a refund for the low-quality produce, adding that Vietnamese importers often have to pay advances worth 95-98 per cent of a contract's value.
According to Vinacas' president Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vietnamese importers should boycott suppliers of low-quality produce.
In a bid to solve the problem, at the beginning of 2013, Vinacas raised standards for raw cashew imports from Africa in contractual negotiations.
Vinacas has also urged Vietnamese cashew enterprises to ensure they do not overly rely on importing raw materials for production.
The supply of raw cashews was forecast to shrink as many African countries are increasingly processing their products before exporting it to increase added value.
If Vietnamese enterprises remain reliant on imports, they would be forced to accept raw cashew imports at high prices.
The association said that Vietnamese cashew enterprises also faced difficulties in accessing loans from banks, calling for added supports for the sector.
Viet Nam imported nearly 230,000 tonnes of raw cashews in the first seven months of this year, worth US$226 million. This represented an increase of 88.9 per cent and 94 per cent for volume and value, respectively, over the same period last year.
The country's cashew exports during the seven-month period rose by 15 per cent, reaching 136,000 tonnes, with turnover rising to $759 million, a surge of 5.9 per cent.
The plantation area for cashews in the country was about 50,000ha but only 30,000ha of which could be harvested.
Africa and South-east Asian countries were the main suppliers of raw cashews for Viet Nam. — VNS