Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • Cashew Nut Sector in Trouble

    Aug 23rd, 2016

    The Kampong Thom Cashew Nut Association wants assistance from the government as it currently faces financial problems and is unable to buy cashew nuts from growers to supply local and international markets. The association’s president, Oum Uon, said 30 members planned to purchase 200 tons of cashew nuts this year for sale domestically and for export but could only manage to buy six tons, due to a lack of funds. Mr. Uon said prices for raw cashew nuts had risen from 6,500 riel (about $1.70) per kilogram to approximately 8,000 riel (about $2) per kilogram. Processed cashew nuts are being sold for up to $15 per kilogram, with prices higher 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.

    “While lacking a budget to collect cashew nuts, in a year the association needs $50,000 to collect the cashews cut for supply to local and international markets,” Mr. Uon said. He called the government to intervene and help the cashew sector to revive, saying that, “Next year we will propose the government to partly help the association and cashew farmers to improve the sector.” Khann Samban, director of the department of industrial crops at the Ministry of Agriculture, said recently it was providing technical training to farmers to grow cashew nuts. He said the rise in prices was a result of farmers switching away from the crop for several years, which resulted in declining output. He said the ministry was providing training to farmers for numerous crops, seeking new markets for them and expanding irrigation. “We are trying to boost productivity at farms,” Mr. Samban said.

    “Our policy is to attract investors to invest in all industrial crops,” he said. The problem is that productivity is low because cashew nuts are being grown by families and small enterprises and they cannot meet the demand of processing plants,” Mr. Samban explained. Last year slightly more than 103,000 tons of cashew nut were exported, with most of it going to Vietnam for processing, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture.