Cambodia's sole exporter of cashew nuts to Japan is set to resume shipments in mid-September, after it sent its last consignment in March, before Tokyo began requesting an additional certificate, a requirement it had waived in light of Covid-19, according to the enterprise’s owner.

In collaboration with Japanese company Top Planning Japan Co Ltd (TPJ), Chey Sambor Cashew Nut Processing Handicrafts – based in southwestern Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district – began exporting organic processed cashew nuts to the East Asian market last year and has since shipped more than 45 tonnes.

However, Japanese authorities have started enforcing the requirement for an additional certificate for the cashew nuts – to be issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – which declares that product quality and packaging are up to Japan’s latest standards, The Post understands.

Chey Sambor Cashew Nut Processing Handicrafts owner In Lai Huot told The Post on August 1 that she expects the certificate to be ready “in six weeks”, following a “successful” recent series of inspections of the cultivation sites as well as the processing and packaging facilities involved in the production of the enterprise’s merchandise, carried out in coordination with the ministry and TPJ.

“Now we are just waiting for the certification, as everything is ready,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) president Uon Silot said that heavy unseasonal rains in early 2022 have brought down the yields and quality of cashew nuts, one of the Kingdom’s most cultivated and potentially lucrative agricultural products, far below desired levels as well as compared to 2021.

He said that the Kingdom has traditionally been self-sufficient in cashew nut production, and exported processed nuts to the US, Japan, and European countries, along with “several tonnes” of unprocessed nuts to Vietnam each year.

“Despite the high demand and large markets, investment in the cultivation and processing of cashew nuts does not seem to be as strong as that involving some other agricultural products,” Silot lamented.

He said Chey Sambor would be the third enterprise to receive quality certification that would allow formal cashew nut exports to the EU, after Ample Agro Product Co Ltd and Welwilling Agricultural Technology (Cambodia) Co Ltd. Silot expects this to happen “in six weeks” as well.

And as a precondition for export to Japan, Chey Sambor was certified as meeting the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) for organic products by an Accredited Overseas Certifying Body, he noted.

Ministry figures show that Cambodia exported 937,974.26 tonnes of cashew nuts last year worth a total of $1.60487 billion, up by 328.34 per cent by tonnage and 233.32 per cent by value over 2020. This means that, on average, one tonne of cashew nuts exported in 2021 was worth $1,711, down 22.2 per cent year-on-year. Major markets included Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, Japan and South Korea, the ministry said.