Cambodia exported 1,115,365 tonnes of cassava to the international market in the first three months of this year, inching up around 1.6 per cent from 1,097,803 in the year-ago period, said a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The muted growth is mainly due to tightened border restrictions meant to curb the spread of Covid-19, it said.
Cambodia’s cassava exports include cassava chips, fresh cassava, tapioca starch and cassava waste to markets in Thailand, Vietnam, India, China and Belgium.
Cassava is planted in May and harvested from November to February each year.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout on Wednesday said the outbreak hampered the province’s cassava exports to the Thai market in the first three months of this year.
“The price of cassava is very low this year as orders from Thai traders dry out due to the Covid-19 issue,” said Hout.
He said fresh cassava costs around 250 riel ($.06) per kg and dry cassava costs 700 to 720 riel. About 80 per cent of cassava in the province is bought by traders and exported to Thailand, he said.
During this harvest season, the province has 112,543ha cultivated with cassava, with an average yield of 26.43 tonnes per hectare, a report from the Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
In January, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said the Kingdom last year exported 6.9 million tonnes of agricultural products worth about $1.9 billion.
On October 29, UN Development Programme (UNDP) published a report titled “Making the Case for Investment in Cassava”, which said about $296 million is needed in a public investment package for the development of the Kingdom’s cassava sector, citing a lack of focus on domestic processing.
It noted that investing in cassava can result in higher yields than investing in rice, rice production, livestock, food and beverages, and tourism sectors. Direct revenue growth from the cassava sector is estimated to be about $130 million over 10 years.
Cambodia exported 3.29 million tonnes of cassava last year, up 27 per cent from 2018’s 2.59 million tonnes, a report from the ministry said.