The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has called for commercial banks to lower interest rates for local cashew nut exporters in a bid to revamp the industry and increase competitiveness.

Radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) on July 1 quoted Vinacas Vice Chairman Dang Hoang Giang as saying that since 2006 Vietnam had held the largest global market share of cashews.

At present, however, the industry is operating at only 50% of capacity, he said, adding that it is also overly dependent on imports which increase costs, putting immense pressure on profits and cash flow.

“Additionally, the industry is suffering from small scale of production, and lack of cash due to difficulties in accessing bank loans,” Giang said.

In the first half of 2014, Vietnam’s exported 130,000 tonnes of cashews valued at 830 million USD.

Vietnam aims to export 2.5 billion USD annually by 2020. To achieve the export target of 2.5 billion USD, it is essential for business in the industry to have ready access to cash provided by bank loans.

The industry needs to be revamped and cash is needed to overcome the obstacles and meet the growing demand for cashew production, purchase and processing, he said.

Currently, the US, China and the Netherlands are the three largest cashew importers of Vietnam.

At present, about 300 Vietnamese firms have exported cashew to 100 countries and territories around the world.-VNA