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MARD to clean up cashew processing plants
11 | 09 | 2007
Seventy per cent of cashew processing plants will meet the standards of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) by 2010, according to a new target set by The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Under a recently issued decision on planning cashew development, the ministry will reduce small-size processing units in the sector that are not up to food hygiene and safety standards as well as encourage co-ordination in setting up big processing units with modern technologies.

However, today’s capacity of 715,000 tonnes of crude cashew per year will remain the same. According to the plan, the industry should produce 500,000 tonnes of crude cashew by 2010.

The tropical plant will also continue to be harvested on the current 400,000ha of land by 2020. Average capacity is projected to be 1.4 to 2 tonnes per ha in high yield areas from which the MARD hopes to achieve an export turnover of US$670 million.

Presently, there are about 230 enterprises with cashew processing factories in the country but only 10 of them have been granted ISO9001:2000 and only seven others have met HACCP standards.

To reach its ambitious target, the cashew sector will have to rethink its system of researching, choosing and creating domestic varieties in order to grow new varieties over 50 per cent of their farming area by 2010, the ministry said.

The MARD will also help farmers to set up intensive farms in harmony with the surrounding environment, alongside investing in infrastructure in concentrated growing areas, strengthening agricultural extension and building models to transfer new varieties and advanced technologies.

Experts have said that Viet Nam is a leading country in cashew nut export but following entry into the WTO, there is not much competition on price, so efforts to boost competitiveness must focus on improving quality, hygiene and safety.

According to Viet Nam Superintendence and Inspection Joint Stock Company (Vinacontrol), cashew nut producers and exporters should make investment plans to renovate facilities and technologies and focus on controlling hygiene and safety by carefully selecting cashew for processing, packaging, sterilising, storage and transport.

One good strategy would be to build a system managing quality of technologies up to HACCP standards and practise production following Good Manufacturing Product standard or standard ISO 9001:2000, the company said.

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