The Ministry of Commerce rolled out the National Policy on Cashew Nuts for 2022-2027, announcing that it expects the policy to drive the development of the sector and establish the Kingdom as one of the world’s largest exporters of processed cashews.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak presided over the June 14 formal launch ceremony. In attendance were 250 representatives from various ministries and institutions, provincial governors from across the country, development partners, the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Cambodia Cashew Federation (CCF), the Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) and the private sector, according to a ministry press release.

Sorasak said cashews are one of the government’s priority agro-industrial crops.

“The government has been paying close attention to maximising productivity and competitiveness through processing high quality nuts into high value export products,” he said.

“This policy is crucial to the sustainability and diversification of the economy, as it defines our vision of developing cashew production, processing and exports. We aim to transform Cambodia into one of the largest suppliers of processed cashew nut products,” he added.

CAC president Uon Silot lauded the policy, saying that it had attracted a lot of interest and would encourage more people to cultivate cashews. The strategy will contribute to providing added value to farmers, reducing the number of brokers while also providing domestic job opportunities, thus reducing migration.

“In reality, cashews have serious potential, as few countries can cultivate them. It is not a luxury product, but it is worth noting that while the Kingdom has over four million hectares dedicated to rice, and just 700,000 to cashews, the income from both are about equal. This speaks to the importance of this policy,” he said.

He added that two state-run banks – Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Bank and Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) – would be introducing the new policy. SME Bank has released $100 million in preferential interest loans to facilitate cashew cultivation.

The national cashew policy has been discussed and drafted since 2019, with over 40 meetings having been convened by relevant state institutions, development partners and the private sector. The policy was approved by the Council of Ministers on January 13.

The commerce ministry explained that the policy aims to increase quality, along with competitive production output, by driving industrialisation and an increase in the export of finished, processed products rather than raw cashews. It predicted a 25 per cent growth in the cashew sector by 2027 and 50 per cent by 2032.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 471,520 tonnes of raw cashew nuts were exported in 2022, with just 1,557 tonnes of them processed.