The Ministry of Commerce is examining the possibility of working with the EU to promote Cambodian cashew nuts on the international stage, as well as to attract European investment in the Kingdom’s cashew sector.

Ministry secretary of state Reach Ra met with Bryan Fornari, head of cooperation for the EU delegation to Cambodia, and representatives of Germany’s international development agency GIZ on October 16 to discuss the collaboration.

Ministry spokesman Penn Sovicheat said on October 17 that the meeting covered support for the Cambodian Cashew Campaign, especially Cashew Day, which the ministry plans to host in December.

He said Fornari briefed Ra on the EU’s latest plans in Cambodia. In collaboration with GIZ, it is slated to implement a new four-year round of the CAPSAFE project in 2024. It will focus on two major activities: First, it aims to boost the value chain of Cambodian cashew nuts and pepper and second, the development of the textile industry, including garments and travel products.

“[Fornari] expressed interest in working with the commerce ministry – as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – to promote the cashew sector on the international stage, especially the EU market. It will do this through a media campaign to boost the reputation of Cambodian cashews,” he added.

Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) president Uon Silot said on October 17 that to date, the Kingdom has only exported cashews to two European countries – Germany and the UK – and only in small quantities.

“If the commerce ministry can expand these markets, it would be great news for the CAC. We welcome the opening of new markets,” he said.

Silot noted that in pursuit of new markets, at the invitation of the ministry, a delegation of CAC members had visited the October 12-15 Gwangju Food Fair in South Korea.

Thanks to Cambodia’s trade attache in South Korea, representatives of Handicraft Cashew nut Stung Treng and Cashew Village – along with several other CAC members – had taken part in the event, which hosted 300 companies from 11 nations.

The 300 booths featured value-added agricultural goods from countries and territories including Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Russia.

According to a CAC report, in the first nine months 2023, Cambodia produced 639,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts, of which 613,200 tonnes were exported to Vietnam. The exports had a total value of $829 million, down 16.3 per cent from the same period last year. The current price is $1,658 per tonne, while in September, each tonne fetched as much as $1,900.