Modern technology of cashew processing machines 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 cashew processing 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 machine 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 cashew processing 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.
Viet Nam has taken great strides in cashew nut processing technology over the past few years, with local firms making 80 per cent of the machinery used by factories in the country.
The claim was made by Nguyen Thai Hoc, Chairman of the Viet Nam Cashew Association (VINACAS), at an exhibition of cashew nut processing machinery held in southern Binh Duong Province last week.
Hoc said the machines have helped reduce the problem of labour shortage faced by cashew processing machine factories.
Machines are now used in all phases of cashew nut processing, especially in shell cutting and peeling phases, which previously required a large number of manual workers.
Pham Van Cong, Vinacas deputy chairman, said « The cashew industry faces fierce competition from other industries in terms of attracting labourers. »
Currently, most young labourers want to work for foreign invested companies, and almost all workers at local cashew processing companies are in their forties. Processing firms therefore must use machines to solve their labour shortage, he said.
Shell cutter and peeling machines helped cut about 70 per cent of labour force required in these phases, he said.
Currently, more than 50 per cent of local cashew processing factories used locally made peeling machines, Hoc said, adding that the figure was expected to reach 100 per cent in the next two-three years.
Low price is one of the main advantages of locally made cashew processing machines. A factory with a daily capacity of 5,000 tonnes can save 40 per cent of its investment cost if it chooses locally made machinery over imported ones.
Apart from the price, made-in-Viet Nam machinery also scored in performance, Hoc said.
« For example, a Vietnamese shell-cutting machine that is priced one-fourth of that from Italy can cut or split shells of different sizes of cashew nuts with lower loss rates, » he said.
Thanks to these advantages, Indian businesses have been ordering cashew nut processing machines from Viet Nam, he added.
Despite these advantages, Vietnamese manufacturers should focus more on improving the products’ accuracy and durability, Hoc said.
According to local cashew exporters, the cashew processing machine has not only helped address the issue of labour shortage, but also increased hygiene and safety of cashew products.
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