By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
|The Vietnam Cassava Association was established and held its fi rst congress on Wednesday. Members of the association’s executive committee are seen in this photo - Photo: Ngoc Hung
HCMC – Vietnam’s cassava and tapioca flour have meet international standards and requirements of many choosy markets, and thus with a good strategy, cassava export can hit US$2 billion, according to the Vietnam Cassava Association.
Nguyen Van Lang, chairman of the association, which made its debut in HCMC on Wednesday, said that main importing markets of Vietnam’s cassava products are China, Taiwan and South Korea.
However, with over 100 out of 300 tapioca flour processing plants meeting international standards and if Vietnam expands markets to Europe and the U.S., the export turnover of US$2 billion per year is obtainable.
Currently, Vietnam has 560,000 hectares under cassava cultivation with a total yield of nearly 9.4 million tons per year. In addition to supplying for animal feed plants, cassava is used as materials for six ethanol plants to produce bio-fuel.
Under the bio-ethanol development scheme, Vietnam will need 750 million liters of ethanol in 2015, equivalent to 4.2 million tons of fresh cassava to meet the country’s production and transport demands.
However, due to economic difficulties, some ethanol plants have yet to go into operation while some others are making losses. Therefore, sliced cassava and tapioca flour are mainly exported to Asian markets.
According to Lang, as some ethanol plants have not been operational or just gone into operation, the cassava demand for ethanol production is not high, prompting enterprises to find orders to export cassava.
Vietnam is currently the second biggest exporter of cassava and products made of cassava after Thailand.
Vietnam exported over 4.2 million tons of cassava and cassava products having a value of US$1.35 billion last year, up over 57% in volume and nearly 41% in value from the previous year.
In this year’s first five-month, Vietnam’s cassava export was 1.88 million tons worth US$587 million, declining by 21% in volume and over 16% in value year-on-year.
According to the General Department of Customs, Vietnam’s three agro-forestry-fishery products having export turnovers exceeding US$1 billion are seafood with nearly US$2 billion, coffee with nearly US$1.4 billion and rice with over US$1.12 billion.