A four-day press and study tour of the Cambodian cashew production chain in Phnom Penh, Kampong Thom, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce. The visit, which is supported by the EU, is being held from November 29 to December 2.

Speaking at the opening of the tour on November 29, the agriculture ministry spokesperson Im Rachna stated that the visit was attended by over 50 participants. These included representatives from the agriculture and commerce ministries, the EU, Germany’s international development agency GIZ and 30 media outlets.

Rachna said that the three-night and four-day visit, attended by 40 journalists, was an opportunity to learn about the cashew production chain from planting and harvesting to processing and market potential.

She added that the visit would also provide comprehensive awareness of the agriculture ministry’s efforts to promote production in alignment with the “National Cashew Policy 2022-2027,” issued by the commerce ministry to propel Cambodia to become the ‘Cashew Emperor’.

“The visit is a testament to the close cooperation between all stakeholders, such as the government, businesses and representatives of the media, to enhance the cashew production chain and the EU’s contribution to the sector through clear and accurate means of communication,” she said.

Bryan Fornari, head of cooperation of the EU delegation, noted that the cashew value chain is extremely important, which is why the EU is fostering relationships and collaborating to further promote it in the country.

“Connecting opportunities in one of the world’s largest cashew producers and the largest market for cashew nuts, the EU represents one-third of the world’s cashew markets, while Cambodia has produced the largest number of [the nut] in the world,” he said.

Commerce ministry secretary of state Reach Ra highlighted the potential, challenges and opportunities of cashew crops. He stated that the commerce ministry and relevant ministries had jointly developed the country’s policy on cashew nuts. 

The strategy focuses on cultivation, refining and export, with a vision to develop production and processing and organise a competitive, inclusive and sustainable product.

“The [commerce ministry] has made efforts to diversify the market by negotiating to open more new markets, especially through free trade agreements [FTAs] with China and Korea. Additionally, the ministry has signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates,” he stated.

He added that through these FTAs, the country will gain a wider market, encompassing agricultural commodities, cashew traders, vegetables, fruits, bananas, mangoes, corn, pepper, durian and rice cakes, as well as dried fruit.

Touch Bun Hour, secretary of state at the agriculture ministry, noted that cashew is one of the most important crops today and is relatively easy to cultivate compared to other produce, in terms of growth and water demand, with significant resistance to drought.