The Ministry of Commerce – in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, along with development partners – convened a two-day “Cashew Forum” in Kampong Thom province on December 6 and 7, themed “Together to Promote the Potential of Cambodia’s Cashew Nuts”.

The agriculture ministry said the forum aimed to provide stakeholders in the sector with a platform to showcase cashew products, processing equipment, facilitate business matching and conduct dissemination workshops to promote and elevate the reputation of Cambodian cashew nuts.

Minister of Industry Hem Vanndy noted the forum’s historical significance, stating its role in promoting local cashew products to establish a positive reputation in domestic and international markets.

He said aligned with this initiative, the government has introduced the “National Cashew Policy 2022-2027,” envisioning the development, production, processing and marketing of cashews to be competitive, inclusive, sustainable and economically diversified.

“In this vision, the ministry assumes a crucial role in fostering the development of production capacity, establishing standards, preparing procedures for evaluating and implementing cashew product standards and enhancing export productivity. This involves ensuring quality and safety aligned with the standards of the quality management system and food safety management system, meeting market requirements,” Vanndy said.

Touch Bun Hour, secretary of state at the agriculture ministry, also said that cashews, being an industrial crop with considerable potential for Cambodia, have gained a positive reputation. This recognition is particularly evident in the market, where quality, taste, kernel size and adherence to traditional organic practices are acknowledged.

“Cashews are easy to cultivate compared to other crops. This crop requires less water for growth, is drought-resistant and suits the climate and soil conditions in Cambodia,” he said.

The ministry’s permanent secretary of state Kem Sithan said that the forum was collaboratively organised by the three ministries directly engaged in the cashew chain. This aligns with the three strategies outlined in the policy, covering production, processing and export.

“The Cashew Forum is a significant event uniting industry stakeholders, offering opportunities for the private sector to showcase cashew products, processing equipment, engage in business matching and participate in discussions sharing experiences of challenges and successes. This directly contributes to enhancing the reputation and potential of Cambodian cashew nuts,” Sithan said.

As per a recent agriculture ministry report, Cambodia exported 415,939.68 tonnes of cashew kernels in the first 10 months of 2023, marking an 11.52 per cent decline compared to the same period in 2022. 

Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) notes Cambodia’s exports of raw cashew nuts to several regional neighbours and processed cashew nuts to China, the Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and the US. In October, the price of cashew nuts averaged around $1,900 per tonne.