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Cassava price up as harvest starts

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Domestic output of cassava is expected to see a slight dip this year compared to last year. Heng Chivoan

Cassava price up as harvest starts

As the 2020-2021 harvest season kicks off, cassava prices in the powerhouse provinces of Preah Vihear and Tbong Khmum register a slight uptick compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, domestic output is expected to see a slight dip this year over last year, Preah Vihear provincial Department of Commerce director Phan Sam Ang told The Post on Monday.

Cassava is grown in almost every Cambodian province. The crop is planted in May and harvested between November and the end of February each year.

Vann Samnang, a cassava farmer on 20ha in the province, said farmers in the area were now averaging about 30 tonnes per hectare, contingent on the type of soil and maintenance techniques.

“We have only just started harvesting at my plantation – I hope the current going rate will hold steady for a while,” he said.

According to Samnang, most of the cassava is sold to Vietnam by traders.

The department’s Sam Ang said fresh cassava now goes for 310 riel (7.6 US cents) per kg while dry ones sell for 720 riel in the province, attributing the higher prices to strong demand.

Tbong Khmum provincial commerce department director Toch Sokhon said cassava output in his province is also likely to slip this year over last year, as more growers turn to rubber and cashew nuts.

“As prices rise, I know that the demand for cassava in the country is also increasing, especially for making pastries,” he said.

According to Sokhon, fresh cassava sells for 340-360 riel per kg in his province.

Battambang provincial commerce department director Kim Hout pointed out that the recent floods had damaged 30 per cent of the cassava crop in his province and had delayed the harvest.

Chan Muoy, the owner of a silo in Battambang province’s northwestern Sampov Loun district, said swathes of cassava fields in the province and neighbouring Pailin province to the west had been ravaged by the floods.

“No one is buying or selling here yet – trade is likely to begin early in December,” she said.

According to Muoy, about 80 per cent of Battambang’s cassava is exported to Thailand.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on Monday said the floods would diminish harvest figures in provinces such as Battambang, Pursat, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey.

He said the government’s policy to promote and increase domestic production had underpinned a surge in demand for cassava for animal feed processing and domestic consumption.

“Currently, more and more local companies are mulling over snatching up local products such as cassava, corn and broken rice to be processed into animal feed for domestic supply,” he said.

He added this year’s cassava cultivation area is about the same as last year.

Cambodia exported 1,780,496 tonnes of fresh cassava to Vietnam and Thailand and 1,202,644.81 tonnes of cassava chips in the first nine months of the year, the agriculture ministry reported.

The Kingdom also shipped 12,002 tonnes of tapioca starch to India, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy, it said.

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