Cambodia exported more than 1.11 million tonnes of cassava, cashew nuts and fresh mangoes to Vietnam in the first three months of 2021, up by nearly 149 per cent despite the two countries tightening their borders over fears of the spread of Covid-19.
Exports of fresh cassava, cassava chips, cashew nuts and fresh mangoes amounted to 242,750 tonnes, 336,151.56 tonnes, 85,687 tonnes and 446,834 tonnes, respectively, up by 85 per cent, 82 per cent, 933.84 per cent and 267.13 per cent over January-March 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported.
Minister Veng Sakhon said this rise reflects the results of the hard work put in by farmers and stakeholders who have implemented the government's agricultural policy to boost production and ensure food security and a healthy food economy.
"During the ongoing global spread of Covid-19, the agricultural sector in Cambodia has increased the export of agricultural products to neighbouring countries,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng noted that Thailand and Vietnam are the main markets for Cambodian raw materials.
"Most agricultural products are exported to Vietnam and Thailand, which are important markets for Cambodian farmers because we lack the capital to help to buy from farmers for stockpiling,” he said.
However, shipments of the these three cash crops to Thailand saw a four per cent year-on-year drop in January-March, according to ministry statistics.
Heng said: “I believe exports to Thailand are declining currently due to the diversion of exports from Thailand to Vietnam. We see that exports of agricultural products such as paddy rice, cassava and corn to Vietnam have increased significantly."
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout said the Covid-19 pandemic had led to a dramatic drop in Cambodian agricultural exports to Thailand in the beginning of the year, but noted that activity had shown a slight rebound over the past two months.
He said the larger part of Cambodian agricultural production is exported to Thailand, where prices fluctuate according to demand in the Thai market.
"Cross-border trade activity in Battambang province with Thailand is gradually recovering now," Hout said.
Cambodia exported $1.148 billion in merchandise to Thailand in 2020, down by 49.49 per cent year-on-year, and imported $6.089 billion, down by 14.80 per cent from 2019, Thai Ministry of Commerce figures show.
On the other hand, trade between Cambodia and Vietnam was worth $3.020 billion in 2020, inching down by 1.1 per cent from $3.054 the previous year, according to Cambodian commerce ministry statistics.
Cambodia exported $385.79 million worth of goods to Vietnam in 2020, surging by 14.88 per cent from $335.82 million in 2019, and imported $2.634 billion, down by 3.10 per cent from $2.718 billion.
Cambodia’s trade deficit with Vietnam reduced to $2.248 billion, marking a nearly six per cent drop from $2.382 billion in 2019.