Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

A worker holds freshly picked cashew nuts on a plantation in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district.
A worker holds freshly picked cashew nuts on a plantation in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district. Sovan Philong

Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

International commodity prices for cashew nuts are rapidly increasing due to lower supply from Cambodia and Vietnam which is driving up profits for the Kingdom’s farmers, according to industry stakeholders.

The shortfalls of cashew supply into the global market have decreased by around 40 percent this quarter due to lower production in Cambodia and Vietnam, although demand has not diminished.

Lor Reaksmey, spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said that Cambodian cashew production has continually declined year-on-year, with a 15 percent decline in 2016. The Kingdom exported a total of 87,853 tonnes last year.

“The amount of exports decreased last year because of lower initial prices and lower yields caused by climate change,” he said, adding that low-quality nuts were only selling at around $1 per kilo.

“However, the current price is higher because of large demand from the international market.”

According to Reaksmey, current prices reached $1.5 per kilo with Cambodia having a total area of cashew cultivation around 64,840 hectares, of which 40,745 are currently harvestable.

While he could not give figures for diminished production during the first quarter of this year, the Indian business publication Financial Express reported that prices had reached historic highs of nearly $5 a pound ($11 a kilo).

The report added that as much as 125,000 to 150,000 tonnes of cashews were missing from the Cambodian and Vietnamese market.

Chhiv Ngy, director of the Cashew Nut Association of Kampong Thom, said that the current market for cashew nuts greatly benefited the country’s farmers, pushing their revenues to $10,000 per hectare.

“The cashew nut market is doing great and we have a lot of buyers coming to buy directly from us,” he said, adding that the association was comprised of around 4,000 farmers.

“At first, farmers were not confident to grow cashews on their farms because they were worried about yields and market conditions,” he said. “But after we explained to them the benefits of growing cashews and the large market size, we taught them how to grow the crop and now we have many cashew farmers and they are satisfied with their profits.”

Ngy said cashews were less expensive to grow, taking only a year and half for the plant to become harvestable. He explained each hectare could yield 3.5 to 4 tonnes of cashews during the harvesting season, which runs from February to May.

“Currently there is a lot of demand from China and South Korea,” he said. “So right now we are not worried about the market.”

Chhay Leang, a cashew farmer who started with a 9 hectare plot, now farms 130 hectares of cashew crops. When he first started, cashews sold for $1 a kilo, but now a high quality harvest of cashews can sell for up to $2 a kilo.

“My cashew cultivation is easy to grow and profitable for me compared to other types of crops because currently the price of cashews is very good,” he said.

“Right now we can produce good quality and large nuts so I plan to start a processing factory soon to add more value to my products.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • Locally-trained commercial pilots to lift Cambodia’s aviation standard

    The Kingdom is boosting its civil aviation sector with the establishment of a flight school with a local airline to meet growth demands once air travel recovers At 22, First Officer Reachta Lim is the youngest commercial pilot in Cambodia. He flies with the national flag