Cambodia exported nearly three million tonnes of cassava products to the international market in the first nine months of this year, surging almost 49 per cent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported.
The Kingdom shipped more than 1.78 million tonnes of fresh cassava and over 1.2 million tonnes of cassava chips to Vietnam and Thailand.
It exported 12,000 tonnes of tapioca starch to India, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy, the ministry added.
Sok Hok, a farmer who grows 10ha of cassava in Sampov Loun district in the northwestern corner of Battambang province, said she will begin harvesting the crop in January and expects to collect a sub-par 100-200 tonnes due to rain damage.
“Yields may be lower than last year. Rains flooded more than 2ha of my fields. The water has receded a bit now, but if the floods continue until the end of October, some of the cassava will rot,” she said.
She expects the price of cassava chips to remain at last year’s level, between 600 and 700 riel ($0.15 and $0.17) per kg. “Cassava has a better market and price than corn, though I yearn for higher cassava prices so that I can afford to pay the bank,” she said.
Cassava is planted in May and harvested from November to February of each year.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post on Tuesday that the province exported 126,250 tonnes of cassava products to Thailand in the first nine months of this year.
Of that, cassava chips accounted for 115,000 tonnes and fresh cassava amounted to 11,250 tonnes, he said.
Hout previously noted that about 80 per cent of cassava in the province is bought by traders and exported to Thailand.
He said fresh cassava currently costs between 169 and 286 riel per kg and cassava chips cost between 558 and 820 riel per kg.
Cassava has been planted on 141,132ha in the province for the upcoming harvest, which has an average yield of 26.43 tonnes per hectare, he said.
But he noted that about 80 per cent of the total cultivation area has been affected by flooding.
In August, the government approved a draft law on the National Cassava Policy 2020-2025, aiming to turn Cambodia into a sustainable production, processing and supplier of cassava products for regional and global markets.
The policy outlines three primary objectives – first is the transition from traditional or family-based cassava operations to commercial production, as well as the application of agricultural techniques that enable farmers to earn high incomes and manage land to meet changing human needs, and brings them closer to climate-smart agriculture.
Second is the support for cassava processors that can expeditiously supply the market with value-added cassava products, as well as initiatives to draw in more investment in the sector.
Third is the creation and maintenance of a competitive trade advantage by promoting market penetration and dimensions, streamlining trade processes and cutting unnecessary costs. This, the policy stresses, will require a unified inter-sectoral approach among entities relevant to exports.
Cambodia exported 3.29 million tonnes of cassava last year, up 27 per cent from 2.59 million tonnes in 2018, the ministry reported.