Cambodia exported over 600,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts to Vietnam in the first ten months of 2023, amassing more than $830 million. This represents a decrease of over 16% compared to the same period in 2022, as reported by the Cashew Nut Association of Cambodia (CAC).

The country’s total raw cashew harvest from January to October totalled 651,000 tonnes. Approximately 615,000 tonnes (or 94.5%) of this, was exported to Vietnam, generating $831 million – a 16.7% reduction from the same period in 2022, according to data obtained by The Post on November 16.

Uon Silot, president of the CAC, attributed the decline in yields to decreasing international market prices and adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rains, which are detrimental to the crops. He said these factors have led some farmers to replace the trees with other agricultural products, despite the government’s initiation of the National Cashew Policy 2022-2027 to boost production.

“Collected yields, export volumes and revenue from exports over the past ten months have all declined, mainly due to international market prices,” he explained.

He added that less than 5% of raw cashew nuts are processed domestically and less than 1% of that are exported to India and China. 

“Cambodia currently boasts numerous international standard processing [companies] for the kernels, such as Chey Sambo Cashew Nut Handicraft, Santana Agro Products Co Ltd and Handcrafted Cashew Nut Stung Treng,” he said. 

He noted that around 700 tonnes of the processed nut have been exported to Japan, South Korea, China and some EU countries during the first ten months of 2023.

The government, through the Ministry of Commerce, officially announced its cashew policy on June 14. The plan aims to develop the production, processing and competitive market for the commodity, ensuring sustainability and economic diversification. It also seeks to establish the country as a key producer and supplier of cashew products for local, regional and global markets.

According to CAC data, exports of the nut have varied greatly in recent years, with about 600,000 tonnes exported in 2019, 950,000 tonnes in 2020, 1.1 million tonnes in 2021 (approximately 24% of global exports) and 670,000 tonnes in 2022. 

The dried nuts are currently priced around $1,900 per tonne, while the processed product can fetch around $8,000.

The Kingdom has approximately 700,000 hectares of cashew plantations, with about 70,000 hectares at risk due to farmers switching to cassava or other crops. 

The commodity is a crucial industrial crop for national economic growth, currently ranking as the country’s third-largest agricultural export after paddy rice and cassava, as per the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.