Cashew industry faces huge challenges

Vietnam exported over 206,000 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$1.19 billion in the first five months of 2022, down 7.81% in volume and 6.81% in value, the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) reported.

Although the turnover decreased, the average export price increased by 1.45% compared to the same period in 2021, reaching about US$5,792 per tonne.

According to VINACAS, the cashew industry is facing many difficulties due to an unfavorable world market.

Exports for the whole year are likely to be lower than in 2021, it said.

During the reviewed period, Vietnamese cashew businesses imported about 968,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts with a total value of nearly US$1.4 billion, down 35.24% in volume and 37.84% in value.

However, the price of raw cashew imported from Africa increased by 15-20% this year compared to the same period last year.

The cashew crop this year came later due to the effects of climate change. There were also signs of pests and diseases in major cashew growing areas.

The price of raw cashew nuts and the cost for processing are high, making it difficult for processing factories to break even, said Tran Van Hiep, Vice Chairman of VINACAS.

According to Hiep, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and global inflation are affecting Vietnam's exports of cashew nuts.

Last year, Russia was the 11th largest importer of Vietnamese cashew nuts with an export value of nearly US$62 million. Since the Russia-Ukrainia conflict occurred, exports to Russia have faced payment difficulties.

Increasing inflation in many countries, along with the zero-COVID policy of China - one of Vietnam's major export markets – have also adversely affected the export of cashew nuts and other agricultural products from Vietnam, experts said.

Exports in 2022 are forecast to face more difficulties due to high shipping costs, they noted.  

Vietnam is set to earn US$3.8 billion from exporting cashew nuts in 2022, US$200 million higher than last year, Hiep said.

However, in the current context, VINACAS has proposed to adjust the goal to US$3.2 billion, down US$400 million compared to 2021.