The government has set the goal of processing at least 25 per cent of the Kingdom’s total cashew nut output for export to international markets by 2027. At present, the bulk of Cambodia’s exports are raw nuts.

Var Roth San, senior adviser to the Ministry of Commerce, said the government aims to add value to raw materials and export to more markets. The majority of the Kingdom’s raw nuts go to Vietnam.

Roth San, who has been cultivating cashews for years, said: “Out of the approximately 1 million tonnes that the Kingdom exports each year, only five per cent are processed,” he said.

“With Cambodia’s massive scale of production, there is strong potential for investment in processing the cashews here. Cambodia is one of the largest producers of cashew nuts in the world,” he added.

Roth San expressed optimism that the government’s cashew nut policy will definitely improve production chains and ultimately drive up prices, thanks to international demand.

Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) president Uon Silot shared his optimism, provided sufficient investment was made.

“An injection of funds is required to modernise the industry and allow it to reach its full potential. We need processing plants, warehouses, drying silos, and the like. I have always believed that strong agriculture is the key to a strong economy,” he said.

The CAC recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) to buy and sell raw cashew nuts directly to a Vietnamese processing company. The association expects that the stability and fixed prices of the contract will benefit farmers.

In late February, Prime Minister Hun Sen said he wished to see the Kingdom become one of the largest exporters of processed nuts in the world.

“The Kingdom exports 1 million tonnes of unprocessed cashew nuts per year, while processing very little itself,” he said.

“The cashew policy we introduced a few months ago is aimed at attracting foreign investment for domestic processing. Vietnam and India both export processed nuts to many corners of the globe, but they also import the raw product. If they could see the value in processing them right here in Cambodia, it would be a win-win,” he added.

The “National Cashew Nut Policy 2022-2027” was adopted on January 13.

A CAC report showed that in 2022, Cambodia exported 670,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts to the international market, to the tune of $1.077 billion, second only to rice in terms of agriculture exports. Of that, the majority were sent to Vietnam, Japan and China.