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Cashews face stiffer quality standards
11 | 08 | 2007
Vietnam has surpassed India to become the world’s leading cashew exporter, but challenges remain for the sector, said the acting chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association, Nguyen Due Thanh.
Domestic firms have focused on promoting exports rather than developing the local market, while India has managed to maintain a strong domestic market, Thanh said.

The association's general secretary, Nguyen Van Lang, said that the sector was also experiencing a serious labour shortage. Lang attributed the situation to a low average income of about 1 million dong (US$63) per month per worker.

Vu Thai Son, head of the association's Trade Promotion Department, noted that Vietnamese enterprises might also have to face stricter product quality standards in the near future.

Sdn, newly returned from the international convention of the Association of Food Industries (AFI) in Florida, explained that the convention drew the participation of ten countries all intending to update quality standards for cashew exports. During the event, US importers proposed a raft of changes to quality standards.

The US was currently the world leading market for cashews, gobbling up 60% of world production. As such, it remained a market with strong potential for expansion for Vietnamese cashew processors and exporters, said Son.

However, Son worried, if new standards on hygiene and food safety were adopted, the domestic cashew sector's small and scattered processing facilities might be unable to quickly meet them.

Son said the association would join hands with trade groups in other countries to lobby US importers to reconsider or more slowly implement new standards.

Plan for 2010

Decision No 39/2007/QDBNN, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, sets goals to enlarge the area under cashew cultivation, particularly in the Central High lands and southern regions.

The ministry also called on provincial and city authorities to draw up their own strategies for boosting cashew production -such as investing in larger and more modern processing facilities.

It also encouraged cashew processing firms to form themselves into groups which would be stronger financially and allow them to improve brand name recognition and global market penetration.

In addition, the ministry has instructed the Vietnam Cashew Association to offer domestic firms market advice and technological support in addition to assistance with trade promotion and materials purchasing. The ministry also called on the association to set up an insurance fund for cashew production and export.

Global alliance formed

A memorandum of understanding on establishing a global cashew alliance was signed by Vietnam, India and Brazil after more than a year's discussion.

With this MoD, the three countries, collectively commanding 90% of global cashew processing capacity, have come under one umbrella to promote the global cashew trade and help each other in increasing production and consumption.

The major objectives of the global alliance would include promotion and marketing of cashews around the world, exchanging reliable market information, crop size outlooks, and the dope on government policies in each of the three nations, as well as joint research toward enhancing crop yields.

Intellasia News Online

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