With an increasing demand for cashew in the global market, Vietnam expects a higher export volume this year, reaching 1.8 billion USD.

According to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), the country exported 212,000 tonnes of cashew worth 1.3 billion USD in the first nine months of the year.

The average FOB export price in the period was 6,200 USD a tonne. The price was rather low in the first two quarters of the year, but since August it has gone up to 7,600 USD a tonne.

The US, China and the Netherlands were the three largest markets during the period, the association said.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas chairman, said that export prices might rise by year-end.

Last year, export volumes were 220,000 tonnes. This year, they are expected to be 200,000-250,000 tonnes.

Total export revenue of more than 4 billion USD is predicted for the 2013-15 period. The export ratio of processed cashew is expected to rise in the coming years.

To fulfill the target, the industry must import an average of 300,000-400,000 tonnes of raw cashew a year, according to the association.

The challenge for the industry is the shortage of raw materials as domestic production meets only 50 percent of processing capacity, it said.

In addition, Vietnam's cashew productivity is about 0.7-0.8 tonne per hectare, rather low compared to other countries.

High-quality cashew seedlings that will raise yields should be created.

The association has urged its members to invest more in technology to address the labour shortage, increase productivity and safety of cashew products, and reduce production costs.-VNA