Modern technology which allows processing of cashew nuts at low costs is one of the reasons that Vietnam has become the Number 1 cashew nut exporter in the world.
Processing of cashew nuts is one of the rare industries where made-in-Vietnam machines are favored. The machines allow processing at high quality and low costs.
In the past, Vietnamese enterprises had to use expensive imported machines to process cashew nuts. A sheller from Italy was valued at 27,000 euros, or VND650 million. The expensive equipment then led to high production costs.
Cashew nut processing machines were mainly sourced from China, Italy and India. A closed processing line would cost tens or hundreds of billions of dong.
However, import machines have been replaced with domestically made products. Vietnamese processors now only have to pay VND250 million for a sheller made in Vietnam.
To become more competitive, cashew nut processors understood that they had to ease the reliance on import machines. They decided to cooperate with Vietnamese mechanical engineering enterprises to create Vietnam’s machines and equipment used for different stages of the production process.
Nguyen Xuan Khoi, director of Khuon May Viet (Viet Prototype), noted that Vietnam-made machines are used in eight out of nine processing stages. This allows enterprises to save billions of dong and reduce production costs.
According to Khoi, Vietnam-made product prices are equal to 50-80 percent of imports.
“Vietnamese machines are in no way inferior to foreign made products. I dare say that in some cases, they are even better than Italian and Indian machines,” Khoi said.
“Vietnam-made shellers, for example, allow a higher percentage of nuts peeled off than the Italian sheller,” he said
The director of a cashew export company, which is a member of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), said low-cost processing machines not only help enterprises cut expenses on machines, but also allow to reduce labor cost.
At his enterprise, since the production line is automated, he only needs 30 workers only instead of 100 workers as in the past.
Le Van Dat, director of Gia Loi Company in Long An province said Vietnam’s cashew processing technology is favored in the world. Dryers, moisture meters, metal detectors, sterilizers, and the machines to classify nuts by size and pack products have been exported to many countries.
According to Vinacas chair Nguyen Duc Thanh, about 10 member companies of the association export machines and equipment, mostly to Africa.
India, one of the countries with modern cashew nut processing technology, the major supplier of machines to Vietnam, also buys machines from Vietnam.
It is estimated that Vietnam processes 1.3 million tons of cashew nuts a year.