Cashews could soon be on the move. The Cambodia Cashew Federation (CCF) is taking bold steps to increase the export of quality processed cashew nuts to international markets. Their goal is to reach markets where higher prices beckon.

On August 9, CCF president An Dara announced the plan to apply for a grant from USAID’s Harvest III project. This grant will fund the “Export Market Development Strategy” project, aimed at increasing the export of quality cashews to lucrative international destinations.

“The US, the European Union, Japan, countries of the Middle East, as well as countries that are potential markets for Cambodian cashew nuts... these are all in our sights,” said An Dara.

“We are gradually working on this financing request, with the proposed budget being between $120,000 and $150,000 for one year,” he elaborated.

Dara continued: “The first major purpose we propose is to provide technical assistance to any processing company with a high-quality product that can be exported to international markets and to help find high value-added markets for processed cashew nuts, such as the US, the EU, Japan and the Middle East countries”.

Dara also stressed that the project will assist various enterprises, including those processing cashews to non-standard specifications, by streamlining their production processes to meet export standards. This collaboration between the Harvest III project and CCF, a key player in the cashew sector, promises much.

Especially in supporting farmers, the project will ensure harvesting and processing is done in accordance with technical standards, all aimed at export to high-value countries.

Dara emphasised that the selection of companies and enterprises would be transparent and made with careful considerations such as proper registration with the Ministry of Commerce.

The companies must also be able to apply for sufficient export documents, possess internationally recognised food safety certificates, and ensure that the cashews processed are only Cambodian and not mixed with imports. Above all, they must support a legal and transparent cashew community without causing harm to society or the environment.

In addition to the CCF’s initiative, private enterprise is also contributing to Cambodia’s cashew cause.

Muth Chakrya, owner of Stung Treng Cashew Nut Handicraft, explained her engagement with partners in the UK.

“New markets are good for our cashew products, but we need more capital to strengthen our standards and production chain,” she said,

“We are working closely with the UK to increase our exports there. The British appreciate the uniqueness of our processing methods, which comply with all food safety principles,” she added.

Chakrya added that previously, Stung Treng’s products had made their way to the US and Japan, earning certification as quality products free of harmful substances.

Now, the focus is on expanding to the UK market, a development that underscores the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for Cambodia’s cashew industry.

But the ambitions for Cambodia’s cashew exports don’t stop with the UK. Chakrya is eyeing more opportunities.

“It’s not just the UK market we’re targeting. We’re also preparing exports for the Japanese and Korean markets. In fact, for Korea, we are already preparing a container,” she said.

“In the past, we’ve exported small quantities to the US and Singapore, but those were test exports to survey the market,” she revealed.

Up to now, the export of cashew nuts has been somewhat restrained. The Cambodia Cashew Federation (CCF) explains that the cashews exported in the past were mainly raw nuts, sent to neighbouring countries. But that’s set to change.

Through USAID’s Harvest III project, the federation believes Cambodia will soon be able to export quality processed cashew nuts to international markets.