Though currently the world's leading cashew exporter, Vietnam plans to grow cashews abroad in a bid to ease the shortage of raw nuts due to the shrinkage of growing acreage.

The plan was based on the success of several projects which are well underway in the neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia , according to President of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) Nguyen Thai Hoc.

The southern provinces of Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc have grown as many as 100,000 ha of cashews in localities in Laos and Cambodia , yielding 70,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts.

At present, 50,000 ha of Vietnam’s cashew cultivation areas are ageing and low yielding, while many farmers in the southeastern region have cleared cashews for growing rubber trees or cassava, as they brought in higher economic value.

Despite that, Vietnam harvested nearly 300,000 tonnes of cashew nuts in 2010. It, however, had to import another 454,000 tonnes for processing in the year. The imported volume was valued at about 475 million USD, equal to 43.3 percent of the cashew export value.

To deal with the situation, Vinacas asked relevant agencies to boost investment in high-yield cashew varieties and advanced farming technology, encourage farmers to develop cashew crops and team up with processing facilities to build their own trademarks to be able to compete in foreign markets.

In 2010, the country exported 198,000 tonnes of cashews to 52 countries and territories, earning 1.14 billion USD, an increase of 11.8 percent in volume and 34 percent in value against the previous year./.