Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cultivation of cassava still firmly rooted

Cultivation of cassava still firmly rooted

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman sifts through a pile of dried cassava in Pursat province last year. Hong Menea

Cultivation of cassava still firmly rooted

Cambodian farmers continue to expand cassava cultivation despite falling commercial prices for the crop and low international trade volumes, new data from the Ministry of Agriculture show.

The total area of cassava cultivation grew 34 percent last year, with the starchy tuber planted on 771,000 hectares nationwide, compared to 574,000 hectares the year before.

Sok Vanna, deputy director of the department of industrial crops in the Ministry of Agriculture, said it was a bit of a mystery as to why farmers continue to expand cassava cultivation while complaining that it is an unprofitable crop.

“The growth of cassava cultivation keeps growing and is still the second largest crop planted in Cambodia despite farmers always complaining about prices,” he said.

He said the ministry has made numerous attempts to wean farmers away from the cash crop, which is second only to rice in popularity.

“Ministry officials are trying to encourage farmers to rotate their crops in order to maintain the quality of land and get higher yields but it is hard to change a farmers mind,” Vanna said. “They will continue to grow cassava despite there being a lack of a market.”

Farmers have long complained of the crop’s price volatility and a general decline in international market prices. The price of dried cassava has fallen about 50 percent over the last two years to around 400 riel per kilo.

Yang Phirom, a business adviser for Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), said that efforts to shift farmers away from cassava have been hindered by their lack of confidence in viable alternative crops. However, he said farmers could secure better prices for their crops if they received support to help them avoid dealing with middlemen.

“Cassava cultivation has become habitual even if there is not a good market because farmers do not see that they have any other option,” he said.

“The government should build up the confidence of farmers to find the right buyers, not just rely on the low prices offered by brokers.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement