Assoc. says cashew business needs not be conditional now

Ngoc Hung

Employees are seen at work at a cashew processing company - Photo: Ngoc Hung

Employees are seen at work at a cashew processing company - Photo: Ngoc Hung

Dang Hoang Giang, general secretary of Vinacas, said his association had wanted to treat the cashew industry as a conditional sector given matters relating to food safety and hygiene. However, he said, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development over the past time has issued several circulars on food safety as well as technical processes for cashew processors and exporters.

Besides, as several countries have imposed stricter criteria on cashew nut imports from Vietnam, Vinacas deems it unnecessary to turn the industry into a conditional business now to reduce the number of substandard companies like before.

There are around 330 companies directly exporting cashew nuts at home, rising nearly 40 firms compared to the end of 2011, Vinacas reports.

Increasing or reducing the number of cashew exporters is subject to the market demand, meaning those enterprises wanting to continue cashew exports need to meet food safety and hygiene requirements set by foreign importers, Giang stated.

Vinacas had proposed the agriculture ministry turn the cashew industry into a conditional sector as soon as possible on the ground that many processors and exporters had failed to comply with technical criteria dragging down quality. These enterprises undercut other industry peers by selling substandard products at lower prices.

Following such a proposal, Vinacas has been criticized for trying to eliminate small enterprises with the condition that only entities having large production and processing scale are given licenses for exports. The policy if endorsed would only benefit big businesses, failing to ensure fairness for all industry players, local companies complained.

Cashew exports reached 212,000 tons in January-October with a total value of US$1.34 billion, up 15.5% in volume and 8.5% in value year-on-year, the agriculture ministry reports. The nine-month export price of the farm produce averaged out at nearly US$6,347 a ton, dipping roughly US$423 a ton or 6.24% over the same period in 2012, according to the ministry.