Cambodia exported over 1.5 million tonnes of cassava products to international markets in the first four months of 2021, up from 1.3 million in the same period of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Analysed by category, the Kingdom shipped out 1,177,003 tonnes of dried chips (up 25.46 per cent year-on-year), 307,750 tonnes of fresh roots (down 6.98 per cent), 13,284 tonnes of starch (up 42.83 per cent) and 3,122 tonnes of pulp (down 34.26 per cent).
The bulk of the exports went to Thailand, Vietnam, China, Italy and the Netherlands, the ministry reported.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post on May 6 that cassava harvest season closed at the end of March, and that yields in the province increased slightly compared to last year's crop.
"This year, cassava farmers have been very profitable in terms of both quantity and price, and market demand is stronger than in 2020," he said, adding that prices for the crop have risen substantially from last year.
According to Huot, about 80 per cent of the cassava grown in Battambang province is bought by traders and resold in Thailand each year, while local companies buy the rest to grind into animal feed.
Chan Muoy, the owner of a silo in Battambang province's northwestern most Sampov Loun district, noted that this year's rally in prices is being driven by high demand from Thailand and China.
"Demand for cassava products from abroad has increased significantly this year due to the fact that cassava is an important ingredient for food production in all countries, especially tapioca starch," she said.
According to Muoy, cassava will see a marked increase in prices this year, with fresh roots wholesaling for 330-370 riel ($0.08-0.09) per kilogramme, surging from 220-260 riel in 2020, and cassava chips going for 715-800 riel, up from 520-650 riel.
Cassava is one of Cambodia's leading agro-industrial crops. In 2020, Cambodia officially announced the "National Policy on Cassava 2020-2025" in order to step up production and commercialise it for export.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak previously said that cassava is a major export product, contributing three-to-four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) each year.
A December 29 report by the ministry's General Directorate of Agriculture stressed cassava's high potential for export, in addition to paddy rice.
Cassava is grown on 656,868ha, which yield more than 12 million tonnes each year, or over 18 tonnes per hectare, it said.