Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tobacco exports trail off in 2020

Tobacco exports trail off in 2020

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer checks on a crop of tobacco plants at a farm in Tbong Khmum province in 2014. Post Staff

Tobacco exports trail off in 2020

Cambodia exported more than 5.8 thousand tonnes of dried tobacco leaves worth more than $17 million to nine countries last year, marking a 14 per cent and 28 per cent decline in volume and value, respectively, over 2019.

The Kingdom shipped out a total of 5,820.82 tonnes of leaves in 2020, down by 14.02 per cent from 6,769.97 tonnes in 2019, according to figures provided by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.

Last year’s exports were valued at $17,462,460 million, falling 28.34 per cent from the $24,371,874.72 million clocked in 2019.

Buyers of Cambodian dried tobacco leaves were listed as Vietnam, Indonesia, Hungary, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, South Africa, Greece, Singapore and Germany.

In 2016, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed on preferential duties for agriculture products crossing their shared border.

The Kingdom was allowed to export 3,000 tonnes of dried tobacco to Vietnam duty-free each year starting in 2016 under the agreement, which was renewed thrice for 2017-2019.

Tbong Khmum province has the largest tobacco growing area, followed by Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces, with Kandal province far behind. The harvest usually takes place from early March to late April.

Tbong Khmum provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Heng Piseth told The Post that a notable portion of the province’s tobacco is sold to Vietnam, admitting that he did not know what the country’s exact quota was.

He said Chinese traders were buying up more of the leaves from the province’s farmers, but said he did not know where the product ended up.

This year, tobacco plantations in Tbong Khmum cover a total of 680ha and are yielding an average of 1.70 tonnes per hectare, Piseth said. As of March 16, the harvest in the province is more than 68 per cent.

Matt Sokkrey, a farmer in the province with 2.5ha of tobacco plants, said she expects to collect five to six tonnes for this year’s harvest.

She said the average wholesale price for high-quality tobacco now ranges from 8,500-10,000 riel ($2.10-2.47) per kilogramme, leaving much room to haggle with local traders.

“I’d like to ask traders to come and buy at a slightly more reasonable price. Farmers spend a lot of money on workers. We won’t break even if the rates are too low,” Sokkrey said.

Last year, the area under tobacco cultivation was 5,175ha, of which 4,875ha was harvested, producing 6,132 tonnes, representing a one per cent drop from 2019, ministry statistics show.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (