HÀ NỘI (VNS) — The local cashew industry has seen a spike in cashew prices, marking a 10 year record high, mostly due to increasing global prices.

As reported by Vietnam News Agency, a kilogramme of raw cashew nuts can now be sold for VNĐ32,000 (US$1.4), and a kilogramme of dried cashew nuts fetches VNĐ40,000, the highest prices recorded in the past 10 years.

Việt Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas)’s chairman Nguyễn Đức Thanh said that cashew exporters are also buying cashew nuts from local farmers at higher prices.

“Exported cashew prices are rising due to global prices increasing. In addition, Vietnamese cashews are good quality and much favoured by foreign markets,” Thanh said.

Since early March, growers in key cashew cultivation areas in the Southern and Central Highlands provinces have started to harvest  their cashew nuts as it is now entering peak harvest season.

Trần Văn Thi, a cashew grower in the Central Highlands of Đăk Nông Province said a kilogramme of cashew nuts previously sold for between VNĐ18,000 and 20,000, but now the prices have increased by VNĐ10,000 per kilogramme.

“With higher prices, a cashew growing household can now earn VNĐ90 million to 100 million per hectare of cashews, and after deducting all kinds of expenses and costs, they can gain from VNĐ70 million to VNĐ 85 million in profit,” Thi said.

Nguyễn Thị Huệ, who owns two hectares of cashew plantation in the southern Bình Phước Province’s Đồng Xoài Commune said this season she has collected about four tonnes of cashew nuts, adding that she has received numerous orders from cashew traders. She expects to earn a profit of VNĐ100 million after selling all this year’s crop.

According to statistics from Vinacas, in the first two months of this year, Việt Nam exported 37,000 tonnes of cashews with a total revenue of $280 million, an increase of 11 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Short supply

All though cashew prices are increasing, the cashew industry is still facing a shortage of cashews for export. Last year’s cashew crops saw low productivity due to unusually bad weather, which in turn led many farmers to narrow their cultivation area for cashews, or even replace cashew plantations with coffee, rubber or fruit trees.

Many farmers now feel regret because they don’t have enough cashews for traders, and therefore, the cashew industry cannot fully meet the export demands.

For many years, Thanh said, cashew prices have depended on the local traders.

"Farmers don’t directly supply cashews to export enterprises, but have to sell them through several collectors . Therefore profits for farmers have been significantly diminished," he said.

In addition, Vietnamese farmers lack advanced preservation technology so they cannot store raw cashews for long periods. Often farmers will sell the raw cashew nuts right from their gardens, and can easily suffer losses.

"There should be a basic development strategy for the domestic cashew industry, including closer links between farmers, traders and exporters to protect the rights of cashew growers. The State should formulate policies to encourage and support farmers,” Thanh said.

To improve the situation, he said that Vinacas is co-operating with relevant agencies to develop a model linking production, processing and consumption, gradually connecting cashew growers with exporters, and helping farmers to increase their profits.-VNS

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