Oct. 24, 2016 The southeastern province of Binh Phuoc, the country’s largest cashew producer, plans to intercrop cocoa with a total of 50,000 ha of cashew trees in an aim to raise farmers’ incomes.
The plan aims to increase farmer’s annual earnings to VND120 million (US$5,500) per ha, including VND70 million from cashew and VND50 million from cocoa.
The figure would be nearly double the income from cashew cultivation only, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In Bu Gia Map District’s Phu Van Commune, farmers have intercropped cocoa with more than 29 ha of cashew. The district has 20,400 ha of cashew with annual yield of 31,000 tonnes.
Nguyen Van Loi, Secretary of the Binh Phuoc Province’s Party Committee, said each district had been told to identify at least one to two key agricultural products and create a geographical indication for the key products.
Priority should be given to cashew, pepper and cocoa, he said, adding that the intercropping of cocoa in cashew orchards should be given top priority.
Early this month, the price of cashew nuts increased to VND50,000 (US$2.2) a kilo, up VND10,000-VND15,000 against the same period in previous years.
Prolonged drought early this year affected the yield of cashews at a time when there was a high demand for raw cashews for export, resulting in high prices.
The drought also caused a decline in yield of cashews by about 40% compared to previous years, according to farmers.
Tran Quang Ty, Secretary of Bu Gia Map District’s Party Committee, said most farmers had already sold their post-harvest cashews when prices rose.
Vo Hung Chien, who plants more than 110ha of cashew in Bu Gia Map District’s Phu Nghia Commune, said “After harvesting cashew nuts this year, many farmers planned to store the nuts and wait for a price increase. However, traders repeatedly asked to buy so they sold their cashew nuts when prices were still low.”
Farmers normally harvest their cashew nuts between late February and May.
Nguyen Thi Kim Nga, Chairwoman of the Binh Phuoc Province Cashew Association, said the world demand for cashews was increasing significantly.
Consumers prefer Vietnam’s cashews in general and Binh Phuoc’s cashews in particular because they are delicious and nutritious.
Binh Phuoc has about 143,000ha of cashew trees, accounting for more than 50 percent of the country’s total cashew yield, according to the association.
Binh Phuoc has also encouraged the establishment of co-operatives of farmers who intercrop cashew and cocoa trees. The province will offer co-operatives VND10 million (US$450) per ha of cashew.
Ethnic minority co-operative members will be provided financial support to invest in drip irrigation facilities to grow cashew trees.