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

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa