Cassava output during the 2017-2018 crop saw a dramatic decline of 569,100 tonnes. (Photo: cafef.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Cassava exports in the first seven months of the year reached 1.6 million tonnes with a value of 580 million USD, a year-on-year decline of 24 percent in volume but a surge of 12.5 percent in value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese cassava, accounting for 87 percent of total exports.

Cassava output during the 2017-2018 crop saw a dramatic decline of 569,100 tonnes from the previous crop to 10.34 million tonnes.

Also, cassava-growing areas have shrunk in recent years as cassava material prices were not as high as expected. Particularly in 2015 and 2016, cassava farmers were in dire straits, and decided to uproot cassavas due to a marked drop in cassava material price, which stood at only 1,200 VND per kilogramme.

However, low stockpiles of cassava in this crop pushed the price to 2,500 - 2,700 VND per kilogramme. Many cassava starch producing factories in Vietnam face material shortages and only operate when they have cassava supply.

In June, cassava starch export price hit a record high with average FOB export price of 530-535 USD per tonne. However, the Vietnamese exporters decided to decrease the value to 500 USD per tonne a month later to compete with Thai cassava, which was sold at 470-480 USD per tonne.

According to the Vietnam Cassava Association, from the beginning of August, the price of cassava starch has been falling due to less purchases from China, which was said to be triggered by the US-China trade war, and stockpile price adjustment from Vietnamese plants.

There are some 150,000 tonnes of cassava slices in stock. The cassava slice market is expected to be more vibrant when ethanol and chemical firms in China increase their capacity.

However, China has a large amount of corn stock, which will be used for ethanol production. Thus, cassava export to China is unlikely to increase in the second half of this year.-VNA