Conference seeks to improve quality of Vietnamese cashew hinh anh 1Proccessing cashew for export (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA)
- As global demand increases for cashew, Vietnam, the world’s largest exporter of the nut, could grab an even bigger market share by improving quality, a conference heard in central Da Nang city recently.

Ranjeet Wallia, President and CEO of Chi Commodities Handlers Inc, said global demand is up 53 percent since 2010 and cashew is now the second most consumed tree nut.

According to him, the US buys more than 30 percent of Vietnam’s exports, mainly for snacking and making cereal, energy bars, milk and healthy foods.

Joseph Lang, managing director of Kenkko House, one of Europe’s largest dealers of nuts and dried fruits, said the growth of the cashew market in Europe over the last three years has been tremendous with Europe now representing around 25 percent of cashew exports from Vietnam and having growth by well over a third over the period.

Demand is expected to continue increasing because consumers are more aware of the nut’s nutritional value, according to Lang.

Cashew currently has a tighter supply scenario and has consequently seen price rise.
The recent increase in price is likely to worry buyers, including retailers and food processors.

According to Lang, consumers are becoming more and more demanding about transparency. They want to know where their foods come from, what’s in it and how it has been produced.

“That means we need to be more transparent, provide greater information and show evidence that our product is not infested, is of high quality, comes from a reliable and sustainable source of supply and generally satisfies the expectations of today’s well informed customer.”

Vietnam currently accounts for half of the world’s cashew exports, and has been the leading exporter for the last 10 years.

Its cashew products are exported to 80 countries and territories, with the US, Europe, and China being the main markets.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country exported 290,000 tonnes worth 2.32 billion USD in the first 10 month of this year, a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percent in volume and 16.4 percent in value.

The full year’s exports are expected to reach a record 3 billion USD, with kernel accounting for 2.8 billion USD.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), pointed to the fact that the Vietnamese cashew industry faces high risk due to its massive reliance on imported raw materials, which also makes it hard for processors and exporters to control quality or food safety and hygiene.

Demand for raw nut imports doubled in 2013-16, he said.
He quoted quality checking company Vinacontrol as saying the quality of raw cashew imported from Africa had been lower this year compared to last, affecting Vietnamese exporters.
The association would work with African countries to persuade them to refuse export quotas to firms not fulfilling their contracts with Vietnamese firms, he

Companies need to have a strategy to develop raw material sources, and be more careful about importing raw nuts, he said.

The association listed specifications for raw cashew nuts and displayed samples of purchase contracts.

Vietnam and African countries like Ivory Coast and Nigeria discussed ways to boost co-operation in cashew trade.-VNA