Santana Agro Products Co Ltd, a cashew nut growing and processing company, plans to ship 200 tonnes of organic nuts by the end of the year, making its export debut into the US and European markets.
This comes after the company received the prestigious Ecocert certification for its organic cashew nuts.
Established in France in 1991, Ecocert is one of the world’s largest organic inspection and certification bodies and has become somewhat of a benchmark for organic and ecological labelling.
In 2017, Santana Agro Products built a nut processing plant, which is capable of processing 10 tonnes of cashew nuts per day.
Santana Agro Products factory operations manager Sophal Laikong told The Post on Thursday that the certification would give his company “full rights” to process organic cashew nuts for export to the US and European markets.
He said the certification recognises his company’s product as being compliant with US and European sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
“Having received the certification, my company will have the automatic right to process organic cashew nuts to supply our partner distributors for export to the [international] market.
“The market for the US and EU for the first time we processed about 200 tonnes of cashew nuts and we plan to export by the end of the year,” said Laikong.
He said that the company’s processing plant, in Romny commune’s Chi Ok village in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district, can produce 35 tonnes of cashew nuts per day.
Some 400ha out of 850ha of the company’s cashew crops have been harvested this season, with 1ha yielding between four and five tonnes, he said.
The company exported 121 tonnes of non-organic cashew nuts last year to China’s largest markets, followed by South Korea, Japan and the EU, he said, adding that more than 60 tonnes have been exported this year.
“Nowadays, my company is not producing enough cashew nuts for export, we need to buy cashew nuts from farmers in the area,” he said.
During a visit to the processing plant in April, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said the company plans to expand by 1,000ha in the future, with the goal to produce 10,500 tonnes of fresh cashew nuts per year and export 3,000 tonnes of the product.
“I would like to express my admiration and appreciation for the companies that have invested in the development of cashew nut production in line with the government’s policy,” he said then.
The Kingdom exported some 202,318 tonnes of cashew nuts last year, up nearly 100 per cent from 2018’s 101,973 tonnes, said a ministry report.
The area allotted to cashew nut cultivation totals 149,660ha, spanning 22 provinces. Almost 60 per cent is harvested land, which yielded 116,343 tonnes in 2018, data from the ministry shows.