The Ministry of Commerce on July 25 reaffirmed its commitment to work with the Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) as well as growers and exporters of the commodity to hold the 2024 edition of the World Cashew Conference (WCC-2024), which is viewed as part of broader ambitions to establish the Kingdom as the world’s largest supplier of cashew nuts.
The conference, which is scheduled to take place from February 1-3 next year in Siem Reap town’s northeast, is expected to be attended by cashew growers, processors, buyers, investors and international development partners from 40 to 50 countries.
Commerce ministry undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat told The Post on July 25 that the event will provide potential local and foreign investors with better insight into the opportunities present in the Cambodian cashew nut industry to consider whether or not to buy into the processing or cultivation sub-sectors.
“The government recently unveiled a national cashew nut policy in a bid to boost exports, planting and processing – and particularly to draw investors into the industry – and make Cambodia a leading regional and global supplier.
“As a result, the conference we’re looking to hold is a crucial venue to give stakeholders the chance to interact personally and explore opportunities and prospects of jumping on the investment train and setting up export-oriented processing plants in our country.
“I truly hope that both local and foreign investors will find this conference to be a true eye-opener and get intrigued by the domestic investment possibilities of [cashew] cultivation and processing,” he said.
CAC president Uon Silot reaffirmed Cambodia’s position as one of the world’s top cashew nut producers, and expressed hope that the WCC-2024 would help the globe gain a better understanding of the Kingdom.
Silot expects industry players from “about 40” countries to attend this year’s conference – including growers, exporters, processing and packaging enterprises, and equipment vendors – to learn more about the potential of the Cambodian cashew nut sector, explaining that “more than 40” nations were represented at the WCC-2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“The WCC-2024 will boost exports while promoting and energising the Cambodian cashew nut industry. This conference is a good venue for luring investors to the cashew nut processing sub-sector, which the government has expressed strong interest in,” he said.
In late February, Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated his resolve to consolidate the Kingdom’s position as a top cashew nut supplier, noting that although the one-million-tonne annual-export target has been achieved, processed seeds still account for a considerably small portion.
“The cashew nut policy we launched a few months ago is intended to attract investors to the processing industry. We are aware that Vietnam and India process [cashew nuts] for sale to numerous countries, but they also import [the] raw [drupe seeds from us]. We would all be winners if local players genuinely understood the value of processing,” he said.
The CAC recently reported that the area under cashew cultivation in Cambodia is currently “more than 700,000ha”.
In 2021, the Kingdom was the world’s top grower of cashew nuts, accounting for 24 per cent or more than 1.18 million tonnes of the approximately five-million-tonne global output that year.
The Ivory Coast came in second with 1.1 million tonnes or a 22 per cent share, followed by India (0.8M tonnes; 16%) and Vietnam (0.399M tonnes; 8%), while others made up 1.52 million tonnes (30%).
Last year, however, Cambodia took second place, yielding 0.69 million tonnes or 16 per cent of total cashew nut output.
In the first half of this year, the Kingdom produced 0.61 million tonnes of cashew nuts, of which 0.57 million tonnes worth $785 million were exported to Vietnam in raw form, marking a drop of 13.94 per cent year-on-year in terms of value, according to the CAC.