Nuts

Cashews: growers fight for their existence

July 6, 2022 12:29 PM, Der AUDITOR
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HANOI. As Vinacas reports, cashew growers in Vietnam's Central Highlands are in an extremely tricky situation. Everything seems to be conspiring against them, and despite the prospect of support, the situation is more than gloomy.

Significant price declines for raw cashew nuts

According to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), farmers in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where cashews are grown on about 84,000 ha, are struggling this year. Various factors play a role in this. A large part of the cashew trees planted there are now so old that the yield is lower than it was a few years ago. In addition, there is a lack of water, which is particularly noticeable in the already barren part of the country. At the same time, fertiliser and labour prices have risen significantly, while RCN prices have dropped massively year-on-year; while the average price in 2021 was still VND 30,000/kg, it has dropped to VND 22,000-25,000/kg in 2022. Compensating for all these negative aspects is simply not possible for many farmers. Many of them are already heavily indebted through loans and are now considering switching to other crops.

Sustainable solutions needed

Should the crop in the Central Highlands decline as massively as Vinacas currently fears, this will not only affect the local economy, but of course also Vietnam's overall production. Currently, cashews are grown on about 300,000 ha, of which at least 280,000 ha are harvested. With an average yield of 1.25 mt/ha, a production of about 350,000 mt of fresh cashews per year is usually expected. However, this is only the case if the crop in the Central Highlands is also satisfactory; something that the farmers are not counting on this year. In addition to its own crop, Vietnam imports about 1.4 million mt of RCN annually for processing and export. In order to relieve the growers in the Central Highlands, the local authorities, Vinacas and the farmers there are now working closely together and trying to find sustainable solutions. Add to this the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to increase economic efficiency; everyone is aware that Vietnam's position as the world's leading cashew exporter is at stake.

Prices on the European spot market have fallen slightly in recent weeks. Vietnamese cashews, WW320 are currently trading at 6.45 EUR/kg FCA Spain.

Cashew kernels

Type, origin

EUR/kg

USD/kg

WW320, Vietnam, FCA Spain

6.45

6.61

WW240, Vietnam, FCA Spain

6.85

7.03

W320, FOB India

7.97

8.17

W240, FOB India

8.60

8.82

Trade sources

India's exports to Germany decline drastically

Germany's cashew imports in the period September 2021 to April 2022 fell by almost 6% year-on-year. Vietnam remains by far the most important supplier with 24,697 mt, followed by India, whose exports to Germany, however, fell by almost 60% to only 3,905 mt in the aforementioned period. Honduras, however, achieved an increase of more than 2,000% to 2,310 mt, climbing to third place among the most important suppliers for Germany. Côte d'Ivoire and Indonesia were also able to significantly increase their exports to Germany, while the Netherlands and Brazil suffered losses.

Cashew* imports, Germany, in mt

Supplier

2020/21

2021/22

Diff.

Vietnam

24,974

24,697

-1.1%

India

9,667

3,905

-59.6%

Honduras

109

2,310

2,019.3%

Cote d'Ivoire

506

1,787

253.2%

Netherlands

1.595

1,494

-6.3%

Indonesia

809

1,246

54.0%

Burkina Faso

400

551

37.8%

Brazil

643

481

-25.2%

Mozambique

227

260

14.5%

Nigeria

193

26

-86.5%

Others

502

578

15.1%

Total

39,625

37,335

-5.8%

Federal Statistical Office of Germany / Sep-Apr

*08013200 Fresh or dried cashew nuts, shelled

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