Processing cashew nuts for export (Photo: VNA)

Binh Phuoc (VNA) — Southern Binh Phuoc province held an international clients conference in the cashew industry on May 16 with a view to having more cashew products reaching global markets.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tram said Binh Phuoc has some 143,000 hectares under cashew, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the country’s total, which yield 150,000 tonnes a year.

Earnings from cashew exports were worth 500 million USD last year, or nearly a third of the province’s total export income, he said.

Binh Phuoc is home to more than 200 enterprises and establishments involved in cashew processing, providing jobs for more than 50,000 people.

Despite having the largest cashew cultivation area in Vietnam, its products lack diversification, and are mainly semi-processed products with low value addition.

A majority of the processing firms are small and their technologies are not uniformly modern, which limits the competitiveness of the industry, Tram said, adding that climate change too has caused difficulties for the industry.

“Therefore, through this conference, Binh Phuoc calls for and wants cooperation with provinces and cities and international friends.”

Nguyen Anh Hoang, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said Binh Phuoc is seeking domestic and foreign partners to invest or cooperate in producing more diversified products and expanding consumption both in domestic and foreign markets.

“We are also calling for international support to help businesses in the province improve their management capacity in terms of nutrition and food safety to enable more cashew products from the province to penetrate your [foreign] markets.”

At the conference, attendees said to enable sustainable development of the sector, enterprises will need to pay more attention to product quality.

Tjasse Pieter Dijksterhuis from the Netherlands’s Decamerone BV said major customers in Europe and the US are increasingly demanding mandatory quality testing, and so companies must ensure specification compliance when exporting.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association, said many cashew producers and processors, acknowledging that hygiene and food safety requirements are increasing in the global market, focused on producing clean cashew nuts and ensuring consistent quality.

“Enterprises have shifted from competition in prices to competition in quality, with many firms investing in modern technologies to add value to their products.”

Small and medium-sized firms could face financial difficulties in this regard and should co-operate with large firms, he said.

Industry and Trade Department Director Hoang said: “We have made great strides in improving product quality at all stages from planting to processing based on stringent hygiene and food safety standards.”

The French Government is sponsoring the province’s efforts to obtain geographical indication certification for Binh Phuoc Cashew. Hoang said this would be a good foundation for the province to promote its best cashew products around the world.  

Vietnam exported 79,000 tonnes of cashew worth 735 million USD in the first four months of this year, a 13.1 percent fall in volume but an increase of 7 percent in value year on year, with the US, China and the Netherlands being the largest importers.-VNA