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Cassava down in 2018-2019

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Farmers transport freshly-harvested cassava on tractors in Banteay Meanchey province. Heng Chivoan

Cassava down in 2018-2019

The cassava yield in the provinces bordering Thailand saw a decrease in the 2018-2019 season, with a slight fluctuation in prices, said provincial agricultural authorities.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout said the decline in cultivation was due to a large number of farmers shifting to other crops, such as corn to adjust to market trends.

“Normally, farmers switch [crops according] to market prices. When the price of cassava is high, they grow cassava and when the price of red corn is high, they that,” he said, adding that because of the high price of corn last year, farmers allotted more of their land to grow corn, thus reducing cassava production.

Hout said about 20-30 per cent of farmers are currently allocating their land for long-term crops such as longan and mangoes.

Hout said about 80 per cent of Battambang province’s cassava is exported to Thailand, while another 20 per cent is sold to Vietnam by traders.

‘As yields fall’

For the 2018-2019 harvest season, Battambang province harvested more than two million tonnes of cassava, while in the 2017-2018 season nearly five million tonnes were harvested, according to the provincial Department of Domestic Trade’s data.

Provincial Department of Agriculture figures shows that during the season, the province had 113,498ha of cassava cultivation area.

Data shows that fresh cassava was sold at an average price of 270 riel ($0.067) per kg while dry cassava went for 650 riel, which is similar to 2017 prices. “As yields fall, the price slightly increases compared to last year,” Hout said.

Chhay Sophea, a local trader in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district, who collects cassava from farmers in the region, said although this year’s cassava is less than last year, prices did not increase sharply.

“I buy cassava from farmers at a price that allows me to get some return from selling to traders in Thailand,” she said.

Phon Mithona, the deputy head of the Agronomy Office under the Pailin provincial Department of Agriculture, said the general situation of cassava production in the province for the 2018-2019 seasons is better than the last season. He estimates that the output may be more than 1.2 million tonnes.

The Pailin provincial Department of Agriculture’s data showed that the province last year had 44,905ha of cassava, up from 40,200ha in 2017.

The average price that farmers sold the crop in the province was 290 riel per kg for fresh cassava while dried cassava was 710 riel, up from 320 riel and 700 riel in 2017.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries figures show that cassava cultivation in the Kingdom had increased to 614,000ha, delivering yields of 13,817,000 tonnes in 2017.

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