Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The cashew sector needs to restructure to achieve sustainable development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.
A report it tabled at a cashew development conference in Bình Phước Province on May 5, said the country had 337,143ha under cashew at the end of last year, 4,410ha up from 2016.
Since 2014, intensive farming techniques had increased productivity from less than one tonne per hectare to 1.2 tonnes, but it fell again in 2016 and 2017 due to the impacts of drought, unseasonable rains and diseases.
There are more than 465 cashew processors with a total capacity of over 1.4 million tonnes a year, but nearly 70 per cent are small in size.
There are around 20 large enterprises who make 15,400 tonnes of highly processed products like salt-roasted, butter-roasted and honey-roasted cashew, wasabi cashew, roasted sesame cashew, cashew nut candies and cookies and others for export.
Việt Nam has been the world’s largest cashew exporter for many years, with shipments last year topping US$3.6 billion worth.
However, the sector is not very efficient.
Delegates at the conference blamed this on the fact too many enterprises are involved in exports. Many exporters do not even have processing facilities but buy nuts and export small volumes, creating unhealthy competition and affecting overall exports.
Thus, exports of highly processed cashew accounts for only 5 per cent while semi-processed items account for the rest, they said.
The sector faces challenges like low productivity, diseases, unfavourable weather and lack of linkages between production, processing and consumption.
Delegates said cashew productivity could increase by 30-40 per cent if advanced cultivation techniques become widespread.
This is a key requirement to develop the industry though other solutions such as replacing old trees, linking stakeholders in the production chain and increasing the rate of highly processed items should be focused on to enable sustainable development, they said.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường said his ministry would focus on restructuring the sector with an emphasis on keeping the area under cultivation at 300,000ha and measures to double or even triple productivity.
Businesses should invest in intensive processing and reorganise the production chain from production to export to enhance efficiency, he said.
He urged them to develop the domestic market with top priorities given to high-quality products they could sell to tourists.
The ministry would collaborate with the Việt Nam Cashew Association to organise the Golden Cashew festival every year to promote cashew products, he said. — VNS