CAMBODIA signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday to lease 6,000 hectares in Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom provinces to Vietnam to grow cashew nuts.
Vietnamese officials in Phnom Penh said the deal was signed by Vietnamese officials from Dong Nai province and authorities from Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom provinces.
Le Bien Cuoung, commercial counsellor at the Vietnamese embassy, said 3,000 hectares within each province would be used by private companies from both countries to build a cashew-nut study centre and to seed high-quality cashew trees.
“This [memorandum] will give both sides confidence in investments,” he said. “We don’t come to plant for export. We also hope to help local farmers with new technology, offering them new seed, and buying their yields.”
The counsellor added a long-term plan is to build processing plants in both provinces once yields are high enough.
An undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, Tekreth Kamrang, applauded the potential investment from Vietnam on Wednesday.
“This will allow farmers to get more income by increasing the capacity of their plantations,” she said.
Cambodia already has around 80,000 hectares set aside for cashew-nut cultivation, according to commerce ministry figures, which the Economic Institute of Cambodia estimates accounts for 1.3 percent of world production – much of which is sold to Vietnam.
Vietnam holds a quarter of the world’s cashew market, according to the country’s trade-promotion agency.