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  • Cambodian cashew prices jump

    May 2nd, 2016

    Processors and exporters in Cambodia have called on the government to channel more investment into cashew nut growing, in light of the increase in its price, which has risen by about 15 percent this year.

    Oum Uon, president of a cashew nut association in Kampong Thom province, said the 30 members of his association planned to buy 200 tons of cashew nuts this year for sale domestically and for export, but had only bought about 2 tons so far. Mr. Uon said prices for raw cashew nut had risen from 5,500 riel (about $1.30) per kilogram to 6,500 riel per kilogram. Processed cashew nuts are selling from $12 to $15 per kilogram, with prices higher price in Cambodia than in export markets. He said current export markets for his association included China and South Korea and that it planned to expand exports to Thailand and Vietnam.

    Mr. Uon said that his association is hoping to expand the amount of land used to grow cashew nuts and to encourage farmers to use more productive techniques and better seeds. “There is far more demand than supply, so the association will increase purchasing and plant more cashew this year,” he explained.

    Say Meng Ly, director of Solar Phum Yeung and Cashew Plant at Kampong Thom province, described prices as “acceptable” and “stable,” after rising from about 4,000 riel per kilogram last year. “Farmers are happy with the higher price,” he said.

    He said his plant was paying about 6,300 riel per kilogram for raw cashew nut and that it had 300 suppliers. Mr. Meng Ly said his plant would expand purchasing to eight districts of the province after this year’s harvest. In the first four months of this year his factory produced about three tons of cashew but demand is so robust it is aiming to purchase 30 more tons.

    All output would be sold in the domestic market, he said. His company had signed agreements with buyers in Korea, the European Union, Thailand and Singapore but the only purchases that have materialized so far are from Singapore, Mr. Meng Ly said.

    Both Mr. Meng Ly and Mr. Uon are calling for more investment in cashew nut plantations, saying demand for the crop is high and more planting will generate jobs in the dry season.

    Khann Samban, director of the department of industrial crops at the Agriculture Ministry said it was providing technical training to farmers to grow cashew nut. He said the rise in prices was a result of farmers switching away from the crop over several years, which resulted in declining output.

    Last year slightly more than 103,000 tons of cashew nut was exported, with all but about 400 tons going to Vietnam for processing, according to figures from the Agriculture Ministry.