Cashews: optimistic outlook for 2024

Global buying interest continues to rise

After a decline in both export volume and export value in 2022, the Vietnamese cashew industry can look back on a successful 2023; the export mark of 600,000 mt was exceeded for the first time and the export value was just under USD 3.6 billion. The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) is optimistic that this success will continue in 2024. In the first month of the year, almost 64,000 mt of cashews worth USD 339 million were exported, an increase of 137% in volume and 125% in value compared to January 2023. Global demand for cashew nuts has risen continuously in recent years and, according to Vinacas, the decline in exports in 2022 is not due to weaker demand, but to economic problems such as high inflation and the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

China is an important customer for Vietnamese cashews. At the 13th Vietnam International Cashew Conference, which took place from 26 to 28 February in Quang Binh, the Secretary General of the China Nut Association, Chen Ying, stated that nut consumption in China is continuing to rise. Cashews and pistachios, for example, are two types of nuts for which China is almost entirely dependent on imports – 70% of imported cashews come from Vietnam.

Focus shifts to processing in the countries of origin

Although all of this gives hope for a positive year 2024, the Vietnamese cashew industry still faces a number of challenges. Export prices are not yet high enough for suppliers and even trended downwards at the beginning of the year, while commodity prices have risen. This is mainly due to the fact that some RCN producers in Africa, who want to expand processing in their own country, have set minimum export prices and in some cases introduced taxes and fees for RCN exports, as Vinacas reports. This is putting considerable pressure on the Vietnamese market. For example, Adama Coulibaly, director general of the Cotton and Cashew Council of Côte d'Ivoire, stated at the cashew conference in February that the country was promoting the development of cashew processing with the aim of processing 500,000-600,000 mt of RCN per year, equivalent to almost half of its raw nut production. In Cambodia, only around 5% of raw cashew nuts are currently processed domestically, but investors are to promote processing here too.



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