Cashew exports are expected to surge in the latter half of the year once the COVID-19 pandemic dies down.
But the cashew industry will still have to lower its export target of US$4 billion for this year.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, exporters shipped 86,000 tonnes of nuts in the first three months of the year for $609 million, down 4.7 per cent year-on-year in value despite an 8.2 per cent rise in volumes.
The US, the Netherlands and China remained the country’s top three biggest import markets, it said.
The pandemic outbreak in most of their cashew importing countries has caused difficulties for Vietnamese firms exporting the nuts.
Pham Van Cong, chairman of the Viet Nam Cashew Association, said the industry was unlikely to achieve its export target for the year of $4 billion.
The association was conducting a comprehensive assessment to make appropriate adjustments to the target, he said.
“Enterprises in the industry need to be careful in doing transactions at this time. Besides, to help keep the area under cashew in the country, businesses need to keep buying raw cashew from farmers.”
The ministry’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority said there had been good progress in controlling the pandemic in China, and exports to the market had shown signs of improvement.
Analysts said exports would recover after the pandemic is contained, and so enterprises would need to make plans to boost exports in the latter half of the year.
They said the EU would be a promising export market.
Germany had for instance high demand for small and medium-sized cashew nuts for use in the food industry, and Vietnamese firms were competitive in these varieties, they said.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has forecast cashew exports to Germany to rise in the second half of the year when the pandemic is controlled and the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) comes into effect.
Its import-export department said businesses should closely monitor the disease situation to make plans, including purchasing raw cashew, selling processed nuts and stockpiling raw materials and finished products.
They also would need to enhance trade promotion activities online and connect businesses online now so that they could quickly revive exports as soon as the pandemic is controlled, it said.
Vietnamese enterprises imported 161,000 tonnes of raw cashew for $246 million in the first three months of the year, a year-on-year decrease of 29.5 per cent in volume and 37.9 per cent in value.
Tanzania, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Ivory Coast, and Nigeria were the biggest suppliers.