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August 25, 2009

Cassava exports buck downturn

CASSAVAVIET. To follow up Viet Nam New 24-08-2009. Cassava exports reached 2.7 million tonnes in the first seven months of this year, with a total turnover of US$400 million. Sacks of cassava bags are loaded at Sai Gon Port for export. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan

HA NOI — Cassava is becoming an increasing by profitable export due to growing world demand, domestic traders have said.

Though cassava has only been listed as a key export staple for a year, foreign sales, which reached 2.7 million tonnes, were worth more than US$400 million in the first seven months of the year, up 4.4 and 2.8 times in terms of volume and value.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said increasing exports of the root had taken place despite the global economic slowdown, which had harmed foreign sales of other goods.

Cassava is chiefly used to make ethanol.... Petrol blended with ethanol is preferred in developed countries because it is less polluting.

Nguyen Tuan Viet, who runs the website, which promotes exports over the internet, said that one in every 10 orders he received were for sliced cassava or powdered cassava.

However, Viet said there were not many domestic firms selling the root as it was a relatively new export.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, China is Viet Nam’s largest importer of root, accounting for roughly 90 per cent of Viet Nam’s total cassava export volume.

Viet also said that roughly 70 per cent of orders for cassava on his website were from China. He said there were numerous orders also being placed from South Korea, Russia and Malaysia.

MoIT reported that China imported nearly 4 million tonnes of sliced cassava and 1 million tonnes of powdered cassava annually.

Nguyen Thi Lam Binh, assistant general director of the Ha Noi Production and Trading Company (Intimex), said her company exported roughly 120,000 tonnes of cassava to China this year.

Binh said that her company was seeking more cassava sources to meet demand from the country.

She added that although other export markets, such as Japan and the European, were looking to import cassava, they demanded a higher quality product, which domestic suppliers find it harder to meet. — VNS

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