Cashew nut exports in the first half of this year posted strong growth, reaching 150,000 tonnes in volume and 1.08 billion USD in value, according to a conference on promoting the production and consumption of cashews in 2015.

The figures released at the conference, held by the Department for Processing and Trade for Agro-forestry-fisheries products and salt production in Ho Chi Minh City on July 2, showed a 14 percent increase in volume and a 28.2 percent surge in value compared with the same period last year.

The average cost of each tonne of cashews was 7,080 USD, up 11.64 percent year-on-year.

Vietnamese cashew products have been exported to more than 50 countries with the United States, China and the Netherlands as the largest importers accounting for 39.98 percent, 13.12 percent and 10.89 percent, respectively.

In addition to the positive results, the delegates at the conference also pointed out challenges the sector will need to face to maintain the growth trend in the second half of the year.

The biggest challenge facing cashew processors is their dependence on imported raw cashews, which account for 70 percent of the cashew input.

This dependence also led to instability in price and quality of nuts, which eventually affects the quality of finished products for exports.

According to statistics from the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS), Vietnam imported 197.5 tonnes of raw cashew nuts in the first four months of this year, an annual surge of 175.7 percent.

In addition, most cashews processors lack the financial capability to invest in advanced technology to add more values to their products because of their relatively small size.-VNA