Vietnam, a major buyer of the Cambodian cashew nut, has unveiled a plan to purchase cashews in even greater volumes during next year’s harvest season, giving hope to farmers who rely on selling their crops at good prices from February through May.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon told The Post yesterday that Cambodian officials and the Vietnamese Cashew Association have been working together to form a committee on cashew production which is expected to draft an agreement to export more Cambodian cashews to its eastern neighbour.
After meeting last week with Nguyen Duc Thanh, the president of Vietnam’s Cashew Assocation, Sakhon expects to sign a memorandum of understanding this weekend when he travels to Vietnam.
“The market for cashew nuts shows promise in the long-term for farmers,” he said. “Vietnamese traders just told me that whatever amount of cashew nuts Cambodia can produce, they can buy it. They can buy 1 million tonnes from us if our farmers have the ability to supply that amount.”
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia is producing a total of about 104,268 tonnes of cashews annually. Most production comes out of the Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces, which account for 29 percent and 18 percent respectively of the country’s total production.
During this past harvest season Vietnam bought around 102,000 tonnes of cashew nuts from Cambodia, explained Sakhon, with the few tonnes of cashews remaining being locally processed.
He added that Vietnam is currently importing about 1.2 million tonnes of cashews from India annually, and that it also exports about 3.2 million tonnes of processed cashews to international markets each year.
Um Uon, president of the Sambo Prey Kub Cashew Nut Association in Kampong Thom province, said yesterday that the prices of cashews this past harvest season were relatively good, coming in between 5,000 riel ($1.25) to 8,000 riel ($2) per kilo depending on quality.
“There is always market demand for cashew nuts, and the price for these nuts has been steady the last several years,” he said. “It will be even better for farmers when there will be increased demand for cashews this upcoming harvest season.”