|Inclement weather damaged flowers and young cashew fruits in Bình Phước Province’s Bù Gia Mập District. — VNA/VNS Photo|
BÌNH PHƯỚC — Farmers in the south-eastern province of Bình Phước have begun to harvest cashew but are facing poor yields and low prices.
The country’s largest cashew growing province had off-season rains when the cashew trees were blooming or just beginning to fruit, damaging them.
The nuts are now bought for VNĐ26,000 – 27,000 (US$1.1 – 1.2) a kilogramme, down VNĐ3,000 – 4,000 from a year ago.
Lê Minh Xuân, who has a three-hectare cashew orchard in Bù Gia Mập District’s Phú Văn Commune, harvested nearly 500 kilogrammes of cashew nuts in the past two weeks and expects to harvest a total of three tonnes this year.
Last year, the yield was six tonnes, he said.
In his commune, cashew trees bore fewer fruits in the first bloom and prices are also low, making farmers worried, he said.
In Bù Gia Mập, the province’s largest cashew producing district, unseasonable rains, frogs and other pests in combination with the low prices are causing farmers to worry.
Phan Thanh Hà, deputy director of the Bù Gia Mập District Agriculture Service Centre, said the rainy season ended late last year and this year’s off-season rains were heavy, which affected fruiting.
Besides, pests and diseases have affected the crop, he said.
His centre has instructed farmers how to treat pests and how to use pesticides, fertilisers and other drugs properly to improve yields and quality, he said.
“If farmers use drugs improperly when [cashew trees are] blooming, it will affect fruiting.”
Cashew trees are highly vulnerable to weather conditions, farmers should regularly check and promptly treat them in case of diseases, clean their orchards, and prune off branches to ensure the trees grow well, he said.
The province has 134,000ha under cashew, or nearly 50 per cent of the country’s total.
Bình Phước cashew has been granted geographical indication, or GI, certification by the National Office of Intellectual Property.
It is well-known both domestically and aboard for its quality.
The province exported more than $1 billion worth of cashew products last year, accounting for 27 per cent of the country’s total exports. VNS