In an effort to augment the value of Cambodia’s cashew crop, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina urged the proprietor of Chey Sambo Cashew Nut Processing Handicraft to devise strategies to enhance the market value of damaged cashew nuts processed in their facility.
Tina toured the cashew processing operation in Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district on June 27.
“We must identify avenues to increase the market value of approximately 20 per cent of cashews that become damaged after passing through the peeling machines. Alternatively, in order to maximise profit, we need to refine the machinery used or discover other tools that can minimise the amount of broken cashew nuts,” he said.
The minister advised officials to investigate the feasibility of developing cashew farming collectives by encouraging investment, production, and markets for Cambodian cashew products.
“The owners of this and similar enterprises are benefiting from the government’s policy of reducing electricity prices for agriculture at night from 750 to 480 riel ($0.18 to $0.12) per kilowatt. This initiative particularly supports sectors like cashew nut farming,” he said.
The minister added that the government is actively promoting cashew nuts for export, with Cambodia holding the title of the world’s largest cashew nut producer at 1,180,000 tonnes in 2021. This places the nation ahead of Cote d’Ivoire and India, which produced 1,100,000 and 80,000 tonnes respectively.
In Lai Huot, owner of Chey Sambo Cashew Nut Processing Handicraft, acknowledged that Tina’s recommendations were beneficial. She is preparing to expand production capacity to 5,000 tonnes by 2024 by increasing the procurement of raw cashews from local communities.
“This year, we expect to export 200 tonnes of processed cashew nuts to Japan. As of this month, we have shipped merely 70 tonnes,” she said.
Lai Huot revealed that her firm procures cashews from farming communities in Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.
According to the Cashew nuts Association of Cambodia (CAC), the Kingdom produced 260,000 tonnes of raw cashews in the first quarter of this year, with 230,000 tonnes exported to Vietnam, raking in $320 million. However, this represents a 13 per cent decrease compared to the same period in 2022.