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Cashew sector seeks ways to navigate through difficulties

Vietnam sustained its position as the world’s leading cashew processor and exporter  in 2018, yet the country still suffered from certain losses, so the sector must strive to regain what it lost in 2018 and improve its export value in 2019, according to insiders.

At a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 11, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) Nguyen Minh Hoa said that retaining the world’s top position, the country processed 1.65 million tonnes of raw cashews and exported 391,000 tonnes of cashew nuts worth 3.52 billion USD in 2018.

Although the figures were impressive, processors suffered from considerable losses when the export volume rose 7.8 percent but the value fell 3 percent from 2017.

He said that even though VINACAS had warned businesses right from the beginning of last year’s crop against purchasing raw cashew when prices were too high, many of them still bought in bulk for fear of supply shortage. As a result, when they finished processing, cashew nut prices nosedived, leading to major economic losses.

Therefore, businesses should be more careful in choosing suitable points of time and prices for material purchase this year, Hoa advised.

Director of the Long Son company Vu Thai Son said that as the global cashew sector faced numerous difficulties in 2018, the inventory in many countries remains large. Additionally, the output in African countries is predicted to increase by some 10-15 percent. Therefore, the raw material supply is very abundant in 2019.

Cashew nut prices are unlikely to rise sharply, he said, recommending companies not rush to buy in bulk at the beginning of the crop’s cycle or enter contracts with delivery dates too far ahead to avoid price-related risks.

VINACAS Chairman Pham Van Cong said aside from local firms’ improper moves, last year’s cashew exports were also affected by global economic impact like the US-China trade war which caused a drop in consumption demand in these two markets. The US, the EU, and China have also begun tightening quality and food safety standards.

He noted that to regain what was lost in 2018 and recover the activities of cashew businesses, firms must keep a close watch on the global market, while VINACAS also needs to promote its members’ intensive processing to raise products’ added value.

Cong also asked the Government and relevant ministries and sectors to step up communications via diplomatic channels and trade promotion to raise the standing of Vietnamese cashew products on the international market.