Cashew export activities for local firms will increase by year end, but a lack of raw materials is expected to hamper export processing, said the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas).

The export surge is possibly resulted from high cashew demands on the world market, with prices jumping from an average of 6,300 USD per tonne in the first two quarters of this year to 7,600 USD in August, said Nguyen Thai Hoc, the Dong Nai Cashew Association chairman.

From October of this year until March 2014, exports should have more advantage due to higher prices in the second and third quarters of this year, Hoc said.

However, the most important thing at present is the limited local cashew supply and capital difficulties for enterprises, which caused cashew imports to increase 70 percent over previous years, he added.

The Dong Nai Cashew Association warned its member companies to prepare a larger stock of raw cashew for export processing until March 2014 because local supply can only meet 50 percent of demand, or 130,000-150,000 tonnes.

Donafoods, a farm produce export company and a member of the Dong Nai Cashew Association, has been negotiating to have 70,000-80,000 tonnes of imported raw cashew from Africa processed by other member companies of the association, Hoc said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that Vietnam's cashew exports gained a 16.5 percent rise in volume to 188,000 tonnes year-on-year, and a 9.3 percent rise in value to 1.19 billion USD in the first nine months of this year, which includes 21,000 tonnes, earning 134 million USD in September.

During the first nine months, the United States, China and the Netherlands were the three largest Vietnamese cashew importers in the world, accounting for 34.4 percent, 16.6 percent and 10.4 percent of total export value, respectively.

Vietnam expects to gain a total cashew export figure of 1.5 billion USD this year.

To reach the target, local firms should maintain traditional markets such as the United States, China, European countries and Australia while expanding to to the Middle East, North Asian and ASEAN countries at the same time, said the Vinacas.-VNA