Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry has big plans for Cambodia’s cashews

Ministry has big plans for Cambodia’s cashews

A worker picks cashew nuts in Kampong Cham province. Sovan Philong
A worker picks cashew nuts in Kampong Cham province. Sovan Philong

Ministry has big plans for Cambodia’s cashews

Cambodia and Vietnam signed an agreement earlier this month to greatly expand Cambodia’s cashew exports by 2028, but the proposed export level would require several hundred thousand hectares of additional land and there is no concrete plan yet to meet the target.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Vietnamese Cashew Association (Vinacas) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to increase Cambodia’s cashew exports to 1 million tonnes by 2028, up from the about 73,000 tonnes exported last year. Vinacas also gave the ministry a $66,000 grant to support the same target in December.

The two sides inked the final MoU earlier this month, but Agriculture Ministry officials have since told The Post that while they are optimistic they can increase production more than tenfold in 10 years, they have not yet formulated a plan to reach that level of production.

“We haven’t agreed on any price or any purchases yet, but it is better than nothing,” said Kong Pheach, director of Ministry of Agriculture’s agricultural industry department. “If we can get high quality trees in the good potential farm, I believe we will reach 1 million tonnes of exports before 10 years.”

Data from the Agriculture Ministry shows that cashew yields generally equal 1 tonne of raw cashews per hectare of cultivated land. If those current yield levels are maintained, the Kingdom would need about 1 million hectares of land – roughly the size of Ratanakiri province – to be dedicated to cashew trees in order to meet the terms of the MoU.

However, yield levels in Vietnam can exceed 2 tonnes per hectare, and part of the MoU with Vinacas included agreements to share both cashew trees and technical expertise to boost Cambodia’s production, potentially reducing the amount of land required.

Vietnamese media reports said Vinacas was looking to support cashew production on 500,000 hectares in Cambodia – roughly the size of Kampot province. That would put cashews on par with rubber, which covered more than 430,000 hectares of land and generated about $300 million in revenue last year.

Chhiv Ngy, director of the Cashew Nut Association of Kampong Thom and Santuk Cashew Cooperative, said he was optimistic that Cambodia could reach annual production target of 1 million tonnes.

“We are now no longer concerned about the market,” Ngy said, pointing to delegations from China, Korea, Japan and Malaysia who have all asked for additional cashew nut supply. The vast majority of Cambodia’s raw cashews are shipped to Vietnam, where they are processed and then shipped around the globe.

The figure of 1 million tonnes was agreed upon because that was Vinacas’s predicted demand, according to Pheach, who added that ministry officials would contact individual farmers as well as holders of economic land concessions that currently have unused land to try to convince them to grow more cashews in order to meet the export targets.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants