Cambodia exported 2,114,240.86 tonnes of cassava and derivative products in the first 10 months of 2021, mostly to Thailand and Vietnam, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

In January-October, the Kingdom shipped 1,336,253.12 tonnes of cassava chips, up by 10.10 per cent, to Thailand (875,070 tonnes), Vietnam (441,531.56 tonnes) and China (19,651.56 tonnes).

Fresh cassava exports surged by 17.54 per cent to 743,720, of which 521,720 tonnes were sold to Vietnam and 222,000 tonnes to Thailand.

Cambodia sold 26,971.74 tonnes of tapioca starch, up 24.25 per cent, to China (24,307.60 tonnes), Thailand (1,375.80 tonnes), Italy (694.34 tonnes), Belgium (272 tonnes), the US (170 tonnes) and Netherlands (152 tonnes).

The Kingdom sold 7,296 tonnes of cassava pulp, exclusively to China, down by 35.08 per cent.

Citing the National Phytosanitary Database, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said Cambodia shipped out 6,364,607.24 tonnes of agricultural products in January-October, up by 87.53 per cent year-on-year from 3,393,915.64 tonnes, valued at $4,071,571,098.37 to 68 countries and territories.

These exclude animal and forestry products, fisheries and rubber wood, the minister noted.

Major exports during the period were cassava, bananas, red corn, pepper, mango, coconut, tobacco and chilli, he said.

Cassava is one of Cambodia’s leading agro-industrial crops. In 2020, Cambodia officially announced the “National Policy on Cassava 2020-2025” in order to step up production and commercialise the crop for export.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak previously said that cassava contributes three-to-four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) each year.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post on October 31 that cassava is grown by farmers all over the country, and that overland shipments to Thailand and Vietnam make up the bulk of exports.

Without providing concrete figures, he said the price of cassava had increased considerably year-on-year, noting that the spike was magnified due to the starchy tuber’s use in a wide variety of food products.

The harvest season closed “half a year ago” with much better results than in 2020, he said, pointing out that farmers rotate cassava with corn every two-to-three years to prevent soil deterioration, which means inconsistent year-on-year changes in yields.

Hout believes that the national cassava policy will support research into new varies, and encourage more investment into cultivation, storage and processing in Cambodia.

According to him, about 80 per cent of the cassava harvested in Battambang province is bought by traders and resold in Thailand each year, while the remainder is for the domestic market.

A December 29 report by the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture stressed cassava’s high potential for export, in addition to paddy rice.

Cassava is grown on 656,868ha, which yield more than 12 million tonnes each year, or over 18 tonnes per hectare, it said.