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Cashew factories shut down due to lack of nuts

Update: June, 22/2018 - 09:00
Cashew processing at a factory in the southern province of Bình Phước. — VNA/VNS Photo Đình Huệ
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Cashew nut processing plants have halted operation due to a lack of raw materials, the Vietnam Cashew Nut Association (Vinacas) has said, urging processors to stay calm in the face of price fluctuations on the world cashew market. 

In the Mekong Delta province of Long An, only 12 out of the 33 cashew processing factories are still operating, while in Binh Phước Province, 80 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises have halted operations. 

Tạ Quang Huyên, vice chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association, said in the first five months of the year, companies imported 653,000 tonnes of cashew nuts, a drop from the same period last year.

In May, the price of processed cashew nuts fell, prompting processing plants to increase their output and sell out.

If the situation continues, exporters from Africa could take advantage of the shortage to hike prices, Huyên said.

In response, cashew processing factories have agreed to temporarily cease operations to stabilise prices.

Vinacas Vice President and Secretary General Đặng Hoàng Giang said the reduction of the supply of cashew products to the world market is one solution to help cashew prices rise again. 

Consumers will buy cashews even at high prices, Giang explained, because the nuts are a nutritious, healthy food.

Vinacas chairman Nguyễn Đức Thanh said in the second half of the year, Việt Nam’s cashew industry will need about 900,000 tonnes of raw materials for processing, but if costs rise, the association would import less.

Instead of paying attention to cashew kernels exports, the cashew industry will increase its proportion of value-added products such as salted or honey roasted nuts and wasabi- and chocolate-coated nuts to 30 per cent from their current 10 per cent of the industry’s total exports. 

When facing price instability, increasing the processed products is the best solution to maintain the industry’s revenue. In this regard, the cashew industry will not depend on importing a large volume of raw materials, Thanh added. 

He said that the sector will strive to raise total exports to more than US$3.7 billion in 2018, 5 per cent higher than last year’s figure.

Five-month cashew nut exports increased in both volume and value, reaching 141,000 tonnes worth $1.39 billion, up 21.4 per cent and 25.3 per cent, respectively. 

Major importers include the US, accounting for 29 per cent of total cashew export value, the Netherlands with 17 per cent and China with 15 per cent. 

This year, Việt Nam plans to maintain a market share of about 65 per cent of global cashew nut exports worth $5.7 billion. 

Vinacas forecast that the Vietnamese cashew nut sector will enter a new development phase in 2019. It pledged to continue working with farmers and firms to facilitate production and trade, and enhance inspection over origin of products, towards raising the sector’s total export revenue to roughly $4 billion next year. 

Vinacas announced that the 10th Vietnam International Cashew Conference is slated for October 5-7 in Hạ Long City in the northern province of Quảng Ninh. It is expected to attract about 500 domestic and foreign firms from 50 countries and territories worldwide. — VNS


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