Farmers predict poor cashew harvest

April 13, 2011 | 11:39
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Farmers in Binh Phuoc province, which has the largest area of cashew cultivation in the southeastern region, face a poor harvest this year as the price of cashew continues to decline.
Workers of Nhat Huy Co Ltd process cashews. Farmers in the southern province of Binh Phuoc face a poor harvest this year as cashew prices continue to decline - source: vns

Vo Hong Chien in Bu Gia Map district's Phu Nghia commune, who spends years planting cashew and has an cashew area of 200ha, has harvested a poor crop this year although he has used every technique to save his cashew crop from bad weather.

"The quantity of my cashew harvest this year will be only a little more than half of last year's harvest," Chien said.

Another farmer, Dang Bay, who has 6ha of cashew in Phu Nghia commune, said this year his cashew harvest would be only 30 per cent of the output last year, which was 10 tonnes.

Unusual changes of weather, including rain, frost and prolonged heat at the end of February and early March, has damaged most fruit-bearing cashew trees in Binh Phuoc. The fruit is rotten and cashew nuts have fallen.

The price of cashew has also dropped to VND21,000-22,000 ($1-1.05) a kilo compared to VND38,000-40,000 ($1.82-1.91) at the beginning of this year's crop.

Hoang Khac Tien in Dong Phu District's Tan Phu Town said: "My family has 2.5ha of cashew ready for harvest, but I don't want to harvest now because of the low price and traders are pushing the price down."

Tien said traders in the province were offering to buy his cashew at a price of VND20,000 per kg.

Meanwhile, in the southeastern province of Dong Nai, traders were buying cashew at VND28,000-30,000 a kg, he added.

Most cashew processors were buying cashew from traders, not farmers. When there were adverse conditions such as bad weather, traders would push prices down, said an official from the Binh Phuoc Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This year the province's cashew output fell by 30 per cent compared to last year because of inclement weather, according to the department.

Binh Phuoc has more than 155,000ha of cashew.


Because of the poor cashew harvest, many cashew processors in Binh Phuoc province have had to cut back or temporarily stop production.

Several processors have also planned to import raw cashew from other countries and territories earlier than in previous years to secure input for production.

Hoang Manh Binh, director of Viet Son Company in Dong Xoai town, said this year many cashew processors had not been able to buy raw cashew for production because of the poor harvest.

Binh said his company processed about 1-2 tonnes of cashew a day compared to 5-7 tonnes a day during the same period last year.

Le Minh Chau, director of Minh Chau Enterprise in Bu Gia Map District, said his firm had only been able to buy more than 30 tonnes of cashew since the beginning of this year's crop compared to more than 100 tonnes of the same period last year.

Chau said to secure input material for production, his company would import more than 150 tonnes of raw cashew this year.

However, importing raw cashews for processing is not an easy task for many processors as most of them lack capital, while the loan interest rate is now quite high, according to cashew processors.


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