Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – Vietnam is expected to harvest only 0.87 tonnes of cashew nuts per ha in 2017, 0.21 tonnes or nearly 20 percent less than 2016’s output per ha, heard a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on June 1. 

Le Van Duc, deputy head of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), blamed the yield decrease on unseasonal rains in January-March, which destroyed cashew flowers.  

Meanwhile, local farmers have neglected extreme weather developments and diseases on cashew trees, said participating businesses. 

A report released by the MARD shows that cashew output in the southern province of Binh Phuoc contracted by about 17.41 percent per ha; southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, 15.13 percent; and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, over 50 percent. 

Representatives from cashew-growing provinces said the bad harvest was more noticeable in reality as several localities have yielded zero. 

Therefore, the country’s total cashew nut output is forecast to hit over 252,000 tonnes in 2017, decreasing nearly 52,000 tonnes compared with the previous year’s figure. The amount meets only around 15-20 percent of businesses’ demands for raw cashew nuts. 

Given this, Nguyen Trung Anh, director of the research and development centre of PAN Group, suggested local farmers pay more heed to intensive cultivation and technological improvement. 

Nguyen Duc Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association (VCA), said the unexpected reduction may affect business plans of cashew processors. 

To ensure sustainable development for the cashew sector in the time ahead, he suggested the MARD adjust the national cashew development strategy until 2020 by expanding the cashew area from 340,000 ha to 400,000 ha. 

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh urged the VCA to boost its connectivity with localities and farmers to ensure stable cashew production areas. 

In 2016, cashew nut was Vietnam’s major farm produce, only behind coffee in terms of export value. The country shipped 348,000 tonnes of cashew nuts for 2.84 billion USD, up 5.6 percent in volume and 18.4 percent in value from a year ago.-VNA