Posting an export turnover of 1.14 billion USD in 2010 from shipping abroad 196, 000 tonnes of cashew nuts, Vietnam continues leading the world’s cashew exporters for the fourth consecutive year.

The figures represented year-on-year increases of 10.8 percent in volume and 13.4 percent in value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The year 2010 marks the first year the cashew sector joined the country’s group of staples with export revenue reaching over 1 billion USD.

Nguyen Thai Hoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), said Vietnamese cashew nuts have penetrated into 52 countries and territories worldwide. The US , China and the EU still remained the country’s major import markets with market share making up 35 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Vietnam planned to earn 1.5 billion USD from cashew exports in 2011, up 32 percent in value as compared with last year, Chairman Hoc said, noting that this was a “hard task” due to several obstacles from the shortage of materials and labours to undiversified products and increasing processing costs.

The country has to import about 250,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts each year as its total output of about 350,000 tonnes can meet only 60 percent of processors’ demand, Chairman Hoc added.

To reach sustainable development, the cashew sector set a target of keeping the growing area at 315,000-350,000 ha in 2020, focusing on the southeastern region, the Central Highlands and the southern central coastal region.

The output of raw nuts for processing is set to reach 350,000-400,000 tonnes, meanwhile export turnover is expected to reap 1.5 billion USD in 2020.

The cashew sector has also mapped out plan to develop a joint material area of 600,000 ha with Cambodia and Laos in 2020, of which Vietnam will zone off 300,000 ha; Cambodia , 250,000 ha and Laos , 50,000 ha.

The industry is making great efforts to raise cashew productivity to 1.2-1.4 tonnes per ha in 2020 from nearly 1 tonne per ha at present, and increase cashew nuts’ value through developing varieties of high production, good quality, contributing to building up made-in-Vietnam cashew nuts./.