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CASHEW NUTS WERE ONCE THE KEY EXPORT ITEM OF VIETNAM. 

Vietnam tries to hold cashew nut export prices to rescue growers

Cashew growing areas shrink

Cashew nuts were once the key export item of Vietnam. However, Vietnamese farmers recently have given up farming because the profits from cashew gardens cannot feed them.

In Binh Phuoc province, the biggest cashew metropolis of Vietnam, the cashew growing area has decreased sharply from 150,000 hectares to 130,000 hectares. The local farmers, who could not earn enough money with cashew farming, have shifted to grow rubber and other industrial trees.

Though cashew trees are suitable to the local soil conditions, cashew growers still have been facing high risks due to the bad weather and price fluctuations. As a result, they have become no more interested in planting cashew.

In Ba Ria – Vung Tau, the cashew productivity and quality both have decreased in recent years due to the bad weather, the market price fluctuations. A report of the provincial agriculture department, in 2011 and 2012 alone, the cashew area in the locality decreased by 500 hectares. In 2013, the province saw another decrease of 900 hectares to 12,700 hectares.

The local authorities, in an effort to rescue the cashew farming, have been strongly determined to revive the industry by launching the special programs to develop cashew growing areas. Vo Dinh Tuyen, a senior official of the Binh Phuoc provincial authorities said that the province has focused on building up the Binh Phuoc cashew brand and giving technical support to farmers to help them increase profits.

Dong Nai provincial authorities has reaffirmed that cashew should still be the key plant in the locality. Pham Minh Dao, director of the provincial agriculture department, said a specific program for developing cashew growing area has been implemented.

The program, implemented by Donafood, a big enterprise in the province, with the support of the local agriculture department, aims to develop the growing areas to ensure suitable supply of materials to cashew nut processing factories.

Meanwhile, Dao said that it is necessary to lay down the policy on sharing risks with growers, which helps minimize the negative impacts of the price fluctuations. Once farmers feel secure with their farming plans, they would continue growing cashew plans, even if they meet some problems.

Vietnam will hold cashew prices stable

According to Nguyen Van Chieu, Vice Chair of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), India may buy a big amount of cashew nuts for the domestic sale in summer. The US, European countries and China would also seek cashew nut supplies from Vietnam, once their storehouses have decreased.

Therefore, if Vietnamese exporters continue lowering the export prices as they are doing now, they would have to lower the prices at which they buy materials from farmers. If so, farmers would suffer from this.

“With the current price of VND25,000 per kilo, growers can make a modest profit of VND3,000 per kilo. And if the prices go down further, farmers would chop down cashew trees,” Chieu warned.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, Chair of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), said cashew enterprises should raise the cashew nut export prices by 15-20 percent. However, Vietnam would ensure the high quality of exports to protect the Vietnamese cashew brand. Vinacas’ member companies have been told not to mix Vietnamese cashew nuts with the African imports.

 

Phong Anh

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