Crude cashew imports up sharply

Ngoc Hung

Vinacas estimates this year’s crude cashew import volume at around 600,000 tons, a rise of 50% against the planned figure from earlier this year. As such, the import volume of the local cashew industry is projected to make up roughly 70% of local processing demand compared to previous years.

“Importing such a large crude cashew volume indicates huge demand from the local market,” Dang Hoang Giang, general secretary of Vinacas, remarked.

Most cashew batches are imported from East and West Africa and smaller volumes from Cambodia and Indonesia. Vietnam’s stronger cashew imports are partly because many cashew farming areas in Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc as the country’s key cashew farming regions have been replaced by other crops with higher economic value like pepper and rubber.

January-September cashew nut exports totaled 192,000 tons worth US$1.22 billion while the figure from the same period last year was 160,000 tons worth about US$1 billion.

This year’s cashew export prices are lower than those in 2012 but the demand from foreign markets now is bigger, with the eight-month export price averaging out at over US$6,355 a ton, dropping nearly US$454 a ton from the average level in the same period in 2012, Giang stated. He predicted the local cashew industry to generate export value of roughly US$1.8 billion this year, 20% higher than the target and the highest up until now.

Vietnam exported 223,000 tons of cashew nut with a total value of US$1.48 million last year. Vinacas earlier this year set a target of exporting about US$1.5 billion worth of cashew nut annually from 2013 to 2015.

The three biggest importers of Vietnamese cashew are still the U.S. with an import volume accounting for 34.5% of the country’s total cashew exports, China with 16.6% and the Netherlands with 10.4%, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reports. In particular, cashew nut exports to India this year posted a staggering rise of 102% in volume and about 68% in value year-on-year, says the ministry.