Cambodia's cashew industry is on the cusp of a significant transformation, with three major bodies now joining forces with the South Korea Overseas Agro-Resourced Association (AOAA) to create a processing facility in the country with a capacity to process up to 7,500 tonnes of raw cashews annually.

The Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC), Cambodia Cashew Federation (CCF), and the Ministry of Commerce are exploring the possibility. They recently gathered to discuss the promising prospects of the Kingdom’s cashew sector, examining everything from land cultivation to cashew varieties and the National Policy on Cashew Nuts for 2022-2027. Their goal is to elevate cashew processing by 25 per cent by 2027 and 50 per cent by 2032.

CCF president An Dara told The Post that the AOAA would carry out a comprehensive study to pinpoint an ideal location.

“We recommended that they process at least 5,000 tonnes a year to make a profit. Based on the experience of the CCF and our team, we believe it would be beneficial to process 10,000 tonnes of dried cashew products. From these 10,000 tonnes, the resulting finished products would amount to about two tonnes,” he said.

Further, he noted that the Korean team is closely examining the Cambodian laws and statutes, and is working diligently to ensure that the establishment of the cashew processing facility would be successful.

CAC president Uon Silot provided insights into this vital first step for the Korean investors. They were keen on investing with existing businesses and simultaneously wished to develop their own processing facility in Cambodia.

“If investment is made in factories, we have suitable locations, complete with the necessary infrastructure. Our association could assist in opening one or two factories. The Korean side has shown interest in the CAC’s reports, and we have already sent them the information,” he explained.

Silot said this collaboration is encouraging, as the association represents the interests of cashews across 10 provinces in Cambodia. With nearly 20,000 farming families and 35 cashew communities, the association serves as the largest one in the country, overseeing 31 cashew enterprises among 38.

The Korean association’s commitment is not just a domestic victory – it aims to increase the export of value-added cashew products globally. This intention became public during an August 3 meeting with Reach Ra, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, and a representative from the AOAA.

Ra emphasised the importance of the Korean investment in enhancing the Kingdom’s cashew sector.

“I suggested that the visiting delegates help promote and attract more Korean investors to invest in the Kingdom’s cashew sector, and also buy more goods from Cambodia, as the two nations have entered into a free trade agreement. Many goods, including cashew nuts, have a tax rate of zero per cent under the agreement,” he underscored.