Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

A worker holds freshly picked cashew nuts on a plantation in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district.
A worker holds freshly picked cashew nuts on a plantation in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district. Sovan Philong

Cambodian farmers cash in on high cashew prices

International commodity prices for cashew nuts are rapidly increasing due to lower supply from Cambodia and Vietnam which is driving up profits for the Kingdom’s farmers, according to industry stakeholders.

The shortfalls of cashew supply into the global market have decreased by around 40 percent this quarter due to lower production in Cambodia and Vietnam, although demand has not diminished.

Lor Reaksmey, spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said that Cambodian cashew production has continually declined year-on-year, with a 15 percent decline in 2016. The Kingdom exported a total of 87,853 tonnes last year.

“The amount of exports decreased last year because of lower initial prices and lower yields caused by climate change,” he said, adding that low-quality nuts were only selling at around $1 per kilo.

“However, the current price is higher because of large demand from the international market.”

According to Reaksmey, current prices reached $1.5 per kilo with Cambodia having a total area of cashew cultivation around 64,840 hectares, of which 40,745 are currently harvestable.

While he could not give figures for diminished production during the first quarter of this year, the Indian business publication Financial Express reported that prices had reached historic highs of nearly $5 a pound ($11 a kilo).

The report added that as much as 125,000 to 150,000 tonnes of cashews were missing from the Cambodian and Vietnamese market.

Chhiv Ngy, director of the Cashew Nut Association of Kampong Thom, said that the current market for cashew nuts greatly benefited the country’s farmers, pushing their revenues to $10,000 per hectare.

“The cashew nut market is doing great and we have a lot of buyers coming to buy directly from us,” he said, adding that the association was comprised of around 4,000 farmers.

“At first, farmers were not confident to grow cashews on their farms because they were worried about yields and market conditions,” he said. “But after we explained to them the benefits of growing cashews and the large market size, we taught them how to grow the crop and now we have many cashew farmers and they are satisfied with their profits.”

Ngy said cashews were less expensive to grow, taking only a year and half for the plant to become harvestable. He explained each hectare could yield 3.5 to 4 tonnes of cashews during the harvesting season, which runs from February to May.

“Currently there is a lot of demand from China and South Korea,” he said. “So right now we are not worried about the market.”

Chhay Leang, a cashew farmer who started with a 9 hectare plot, now farms 130 hectares of cashew crops. When he first started, cashews sold for $1 a kilo, but now a high quality harvest of cashews can sell for up to $2 a kilo.

“My cashew cultivation is easy to grow and profitable for me compared to other types of crops because currently the price of cashews is very good,” he said.

“Right now we can produce good quality and large nuts so I plan to start a processing factory soon to add more value to my products.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital