Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cassava more fruitful than rice in Kingdom, says UNDP study

Cassava more fruitful than rice in Kingdom, says UNDP study

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Commerce is preparing a national policy on the cassava production sector aimed at promoting exports. Photo supplied

Cassava more fruitful than rice in Kingdom, says UNDP study

The government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have called on farmers to grow cassava as a national policy on cassava production nears finalisation.

A UNDP study on Friday found 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.

Speaking at the launch of the report, UNDP project manager Leang Reathmana said there is a growing demand for cassava from world markets – especially China – and the government and the private sector need to invest more in cassava.

“[Any potential investment] is an encouragement for people living in the right areas to grow cassava.

“Cambodia’s strengths are, firstly, our huge production. Secondly, we can allot more land for agriculture. Thirdly, the land we use to grow cassava is more suitable than that in Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.

The UNDP report 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.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce is preparing a national policy on the cassava production sector aimed at promoting exports.

Speaking at the launch, Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Mao Thora said cassava is the Kingdom’s second-largest crop after rice and requires a national policy.

“Many people are growing cassava – more than half a million families. It [the national policy] will help improve their livelihoods.

“We submitted our documents to the Council of Ministers [CoM] for approval in principle, but it did not pass as the document did not meet government requirements,” he said.

He did not provide a timeframe for the resubmission of the documents to the CoM.

‘Aiming for higher yields’

Tbong Khmum provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Heng Piseth told The Post that cassava in the province is being grown on 50,000ha this year and that output is about one million tonnes per year.

He said most of the province’s cassava is sold to Vietnam. The price for cassava in the province was around 340 riel (8.4 US cents) per kilogramme at the beginning of this year’s harvest.

“Aiming for higher yields, the department has spread information to cassava farmers on how to choose good seeds and keep proper maintenance,” he said.

However, he said disease and drought remains a challenge for farmers. “We are teaming up a group of farmers to sell cassava to traders via an agreed price matching the market rate,” he said.

The report said public intervention is crucial for the sector to achieve these goals. The state must provide the resources needed for the cultivation, processing, marketing and implementation of supporting infrastructure projects.

Ministry of Commerce data shows that Cambodian cassava exports were worth $17.8 million in 2017, but fell to $12.6 million last year.

Last year, the Kingdom produced 13,750,076 tonnes of cassava – down slightly from 13,817,262 tonnes in 2017. Cultivation increased six per cent from 612,861ha in 2017 to 650,310ha, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data shows.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15