The Ministry of Commerce is revising some of the content of the draft national policy on cashew nuts in preparation for government approval, which industry players are optimistic will make Cambodian cashew nut products more reputable and exportable.

During a meeting to review and discuss the draft policy on January 20, ministry secretary of state and Cambodian Cashew Nut Policy Joint Working Group (“CCNPJWG”) deputy chairman Reach Ra touched on progress made on the document at a range of meetings between relevant general departments, the CCNPJWG and other technical working groups.

The CCNPJWG also incorporated input from other government agencies, development partners and the private sector – including associations, exporters and growers – to fill in the gaps left in the draft policy, he said.

He recognised the production and export potential of cashew nuts in Cambodia, and said a competent national policy would greatly contribute to the achievement of the Kingdom’s ambitions to become a major producer and exporter of the commodity.

“I call on the secretariat for the preparation of the national policy on cashew nuts to prepare for further proceedings to be discussed at a Council of Ministers meeting, in the near future,” Ra said.

The purpose of the draft national policy is to turn Cambodia into a major producer and supplier of cashew nuts and products to serve the local, regional and global markets, he said.

In Lai Huot, owner of the Kampong Thom-based cashew nut processing business Chey Sambor, told The Post on January 23 that the cultivation areas and production of cashew nuts were trending up every year, which she chalked up to ease of growing, a large market and affordability.

She said a national policy on cashew nuts similar to the one on cassava would help attract more investors and people to grow the trees and process the seeds for export.

“When cashew nut crops are incorporated into national policy, I believe that would bring many benefits to growers and processors, as I realise that demand is high but that supply capacity is still limited,” Lai Huot said.

At present, cashew nuts cost between 6,000-7,000 riel ($1.47-1.72) per kilogramme, which is similar to last year, she added.

In collaboration with Japanese company Top Planning Japan Co Ltd (TPJ), Chey Sambor exported its first batch of cashew nuts to Japan in mid-2021. The business has shipped a total of 34 tonnes to date, all to Japan.

Cambodia exported 937,974.26 tonnes of cashew nuts last year worth $1.604877 billion, up by 328.34 per cent in volume and 233.32 per cent in value from 0.21898 million tonnes and $481.48 million in 2020, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Major markets for Cambodian cashew nuts include Vietnam, mainland China, Thailand, India, Japan and South Korea, it said.