Vietnam’s cashew nut industry experienced a poorer-than-expected harvest this year. While it actually saw growth in exports, value declined.
Disease and natural disasters counted among the causes, as did longstanding bottlenecks in productivity, output, and value, which need to be resolved quickly in order for Vietnamese cashew nuts to maintain their leading position in the market.
Vietnam’s “cashew capital”, southern Binh Phuoc province, is home to around 170,000 ha of cashew trees, accounting for half of the country’s total planting area. Natural disasters cut production by about 10 percent compared to last year. Workers are scarce and prices are high, meanwhile, making the harvest and sales more problematic than in previous years.
A similar situation was seen in key cashew growing localities in the Central Highlands. Since the beginning of the season, the price of fresh cashew nuts has continually fallen, from 1,25 USD to around 1 USD per kilo. With the lower price, farmers earn no profit.
The Vietnam Cashew Association said the main reason farmers are struggling is the significant decline in export prices. In the first four months of this year, Vietnam exported 168,000 tons of cashew nuts worth over 900 million USD, up 14 percent in volume but down 15 percent in sales price over the same period last year.
This also shows that the cashew nut industry has not been active in improving output. It must also import 70 percent of its raw materials. Both input and output are still full of uncertainty, and businesses must be more alert to minimise the risks.
Although still a “billion-dollar” crop, Vietnam’s cashew nuts are gradually losing their position in the world. Bottlenecks in supply – demand, production – processing – value, and especially productivity – output are the greatest challenges, requiring that the community of businesses, associations, localities, and ministries sustainably build and develop the cashew nut industry./.