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Cassava crops poised for growth

Cassava crops poised for growth

DOMESTIC cassava production is set to rise nearly nine percent this year, compared to 2009, according to a provisional estimate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

Ministry cabinet chief Hong Narith said cultivation of the crop was increasing because new markets were looking to the Kingdom for exports.

“We hope farmers will supply more cassava to meet demand from markets both inside and outside the country,” he said.

The cassava crop is set to total 3.78 million tonnes this year, an 8.9 percent increase on the 3.47 million tonnes produce last year, the Ministry’s report said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said a deal on cassava is to be signed during his five-day official visit to China this week.

The agreement will directly benefit Cambodia’s farmers by opening a large export market for the crop, he said.

Cambodia presently exports largely to neighbouring nations, according to the owner of a Banteay Meanchey province cassava farm.

Chok Pouk said he agreed that opening markets for cassava exports besides Thailand and Vietnam would provide increased opportunity for farmers.

He intends to double the size of his farm from 500 hectares to 1,000 hectares on the hope that new markets will demand more of the crop.

Cassava prices rest on market demand, according to Malay Trading representative Som Yen Samnang.

The firm – which is a cross border dealer in the Thai market – said the crop was fetching 2.7 baht per kilogram this year, up from 2.05 baht in 2009.

“If Cambodia can open the market for cassava in China, prices will be higher because we don’t need middle men from Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.

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