Cashew prices are expected to recover this year on the global market and producers should promote cooperation to remain stable.
Experts spoke at an international conference on the cashew industry held in Huế from March 1-3 to promote close and long-term relationships between cashew companies and create a basis for establishing trade between parties this year.
R K Dhoodes, chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC) said annual consumption of cashew nuts has increased sharply, meaning good news for the global cashew industry.
He predicted demand will continue to rise so prices will also surge.
The CEPC chairman said in the future there should be a common institution for controlling trade activities to ensure parties respect contracts. Prices must be fair to ensure all parties benefit in the value chain.
During the conference, the Việt Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas) and the CEPC held talks about promoting cooperation in stabilising cashew prices this year.
The cooperation between Vinacas and CEPC, representatives of the two largest cashew processing countries in the world – India and Việt Nam, is necessary to gradually stabilise the market and ensure benefits in the global value chain this year and beyond.
Also at the conference, participants asked African countries to control the quality of exported cashews this year.
The conference forecasted that global raw cashew output this year is about 4 million tonnes (or 1 million tonnes of processed cashew), including over 2 million tonnes in Africa and the remainder from other countries including India, Việt Nam, Indonesia and Cambodia.
The conference this year attracted 300 businesses from Việt Nam and other countries. The annual event was under the national trade promotion programme and showed achievements and innovations in food safety and hygiene technology of Việt Nam’s cashew industry.
According to the Vinacas, this year, Việt Nam plans to ship 350,000 tonnes of cashew nuts for about US$4 billion, a lower volume but higher value than last year.
By increasing sales of processed products instead of raw cashew, the ratio of processed cashew nuts of Việt Nam is expected to rise 30 per cent, double that of two years ago.
Vinacas general secretary Đặng Hoàng Giang said that along with improving the quality of processed cashew nut, in June 2019, the association will survey the West Asian market, bringing about more choices for exporters in terms of market and product.
Vietnamese cashew is popular in demanding markets such as the US and the EU, paving the way for domestic exporters to expand markets.
Along with seeking new markets, Việt Nam aims to maintain major ones such as the Netherlands, China, and especially the US, which consumes up to 40 per cent of the country’s cashew nuts, said Giang.
He added that the current market trend is products with clear origin, as customers prefer products with strictly controlled quality.
Vinacas Vice President Nguyễn Minh Họa said that to conquer new markets, Vietnamese firms should pay greater attention to studying requirements of the markets to supply suitable products.
Họa noted that with the use of Vietnamese technology over the years, African countries have started processing cashew and reducing their exports of raw cashew. They are expected to compete with Việt Nam in the next five years.
With dependence on materials from other countries, it is crucial for the Vietnamese cashew sector to improve quality to enhance competitiveness, he said.
Vinacas chairman Phạm Văn Công said the association will ask for support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade in implementing the “Cashew of Vietnam” promotion programme as well as other programmes to assist in the building of Vietnamese cashew trademark and providing information and technical support for exporters.
Vinacas will ask the Ministry of Finance to deploy measures to encourage foreign-invested forms to focus on processing, contributing to increasing the ratio of processed products.
Although Vietnamese cashew is defined by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council as having higher quality than that of African countries and Cambodia, the price of cashew material is not very different than that of other countries.
Therefore, the building of a Vietnamese cashew trademark should start by building a trademark for materials.
Công said Vinacas and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have built a set of national criteria for cashew material, which will be issued in 2019 and is expected to reduce problems in the quality of materials. — VNS