Vietnam Cashes in on Cashews

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CashewSnackBy Charles Small

Vietnam has retained its title as the world’s top cashew exporter for the ninth year in a row, as the country’s cashew and cashew by-product export revenue in 2014 reached a record US$2.2 billion.

The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) reported a 17.4 percent annual increase in volume of cashew kernels exports, with 306,000 tonnes shipped in 2014. Revenue from exports of the nuts grew by 21.9 percent to over US$2 billion, and when taking into account cashew by-products, export revenue was close to US$2.2 billion. Cashew prices had risen 3.8 percent year-on-year.

The primary destinations for Vietnam’s cashew exports are the USA, which receives approximately 30 percent of Vietnam’s total exports, followed by Europe with 25 percent, and China with 20 percent. Vietnamese cashews are exported to over 50 countries.

Vietnam imported 700,000 tonnes of raw cashew in 2014, feeding the country’s processing sectors and boosting exports. According to Vincas, 1.2 million tonnes of cashew kernel were processed in total last year, taking place in Vietnam’s approximately 500 large and medium, and 500 small scale processing facilities.

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The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency reports that cashew is grown in 300,000 hectares in Vietnam, with an average productivity of around 1,000 kilograms per hectare. It states that due to land pressures, productivity increases are prioritized over expansion of cultivated land, making use of an integrated pest management system to keep the country on track to the 1,700-2,000 kilograms per hectare productivity target.

Vietnam’s global prominence is not at the expense of others, as shown by Vinacas’ signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Cote D’Ivoire’s Cotton and Cashew Council in 2014. Objectives of the MoU are to support consulting and training of cashew producers in Cote D’Ivoire, exchange industry information, protect trade between the two countries, and provide supporting technical advice. As African countries and Cambodia are the main suppliers of raw cashew to Vietnam’s processing industry, the onus is on Vincas to ensure adequate supply.

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Vincas has set new 2015 targets of 350,000 tonnes of cashew kernel exports and US$2.5 billion in revenue. This ambitious targets were set despite Vincas Chairman Nguyen Duc Thanh forecasting challenged of foreign currency depreciation, competitive cashew cultivation in Africa, growth of Chinese and Indian cashew processing industries, and stricter quality controls.


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