The US, along with the Netherlands and China, remained the top three largest cashew export markets for Vietnam.
The department said the country exported a total 50,700 tonnes of cashew nuts in the period, a year on year increase of 6.5%, but value fell 8.4% to about US$357 million.
The average export price of cashew nuts in the first two months decreased by 14% over the same period last year to US$7,046 per tonne, it said.
For February alone, total cashew exports reached 26,100 tonnes, earning US$185.2 million. This marked a surge of 5.7% in volume and 7.3% in value month-on-month, and 76.8% and 50.6%, respectively, year-on-year.
In February, Vietnam saw growth in cashew exports to many markets, including the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Australia and Saudi Arabia, but exports to China fell sharply due to low demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam's cashew industry was expected to face difficulties in export during the first half this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and oversupply, said the Vietnam Cashew Association.
By mid-March, the domestic price of raw cashew nuts had fallen VND6,000 per kilo compared to the end of February.
The association said the COVID-19 pandemic posed many risks and unpredictable fluctuations on the cashew market at home and abroad.
The cashew harvest has arrived in Vietnam, Cambodia and West Africa, with countries relying on high yields, especially Cambodia and the Ivory Coast.
Vietnam is also expected to have high cashew output this year, which will likely push prices down, said the association.
It has recommended local cashew export processing enterprises to monitor the market closely to make suitable production and business plans this year, including buying raw cashew, selling processed cashew, and storing raw materials and finished products.
Vietnam has targeted total export value of cashew at US$4 billion this year.