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US to introduce tougher standards on Vietnam cashew
26 | 09 | 2007
A new set of US quality standards is expected to bite into local cashew exporters’ profits whereby the new standards, to be issued this year by the US Association of Food Industries (API), will be much stricter than the current quality standards applied since 1999, said Vietnam Cashew Association’s (Vinacas) commercial promotion board head Vu Thai Son.
"The new standards will allow only 0.01% of impurities, not the current 0.05%. Cashew kernels will be required to separate, not agglomerate. Even insect mites, grits or hair are not allowed," he said.

Vinacas said the tough new standards would likely be adopted by European nations, which would be disastrous for poorly equipped Vietnamese farmers.

US and European markets imported 41% and 21% of Vietnam's export cashew volume respectively.

While India, Brazil, Indonesia have applied environment-friendly cashew processing technologies for years, nearly 80% of Vietnam's cashew enterprises use obsolete technology.

"The sector hasn't upgraded its processing facilities for 15 years and still relies on manual labour for processing raw materials, greatly influencing cashew productivity and quality," an another Vinacas official said.

Son said Vinacas would cooperate with other nations and ask the US to re-consider its plan.

According to latest statistics from Vietnam's Customs general Department, in the first two-months this year, Vietnam exported 19,000 tonnes of cashews, earning US$75 million, in which 3,100 tonnes went to the US, earning US$13.22 million. Cashew prices averaged at US$4,300 per tonne, a 6% increase against late 2006.

Vietnam exported 35,000 tonnes of cashews over the past four-months, earning US$139 million, up 3.9% in quantity and 4.3% in value against the same period by 2006.

It is expected that Vietnam will export 140,000 tonnes this year, earning US$560 million from export turnover, up over 11% against by 2006.

Intellasia News Online

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