In future, Stung Treng province will attract investment in large factories and manufacturing enterprises that will process agricultural raw materials into value-added processed products, particularly cashew nuts, which have been recognised for their commercial potential, officials said.

The expectation was raised at an April 24 press conference to outline the provincial administration’s achievements over the past five years.

“Agriculture in Stung Treng has grown steadily from six to seven per cent per year. Agriculture contributes about 67 to 69 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product [GDP],” said provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Tum Niro.

He explained that agriculture is a priority sector that plays an important role in ensuring food security and improving the living standards of the people in the province. Although Stung Treng is not ideal for rice cultivation, it is ideal for agro-industrial crops such as cashews.

“From 2018-2022, the 44,000ha of cashew crops in the province yielded about 90,000 to 100,000 tonnes of nuts, and injected more than $100 million in revenue into the provincial economy,” he said.

“Although we produce a large quantity of cashews, we do not have large-scale processing facilities. I urge investors – both foreign and domestic – to invest here, in order to hasten Cambodia’s progress towards its goal of one day becoming a ‘cashew emperor’,” he said.

He hopes investors will acknowledge the province’s potential, and provide funding for factories and processing plants.

Stung Treng provincial governor Svay Sam Eang said that cashew crops were becoming a significant strategic crop in the province, and believed various companies and individuals were examining investment opportunities.

He explained that in the past, the province’s largest markets for cashew, rubber, and cassava crops was Vietnam, via the Oyadao border checkpoint in neighbouring Ratanakkiri province, as the Thai market remained limited.

“In order to promote cashew cultivation, the provincial leadership is committed to enhancing agriculture and agro-industry. We will do so through the teaching of fundamental technical skills and the expansion of cooperation with our development partners and the private sector,” he said.

“We intend to mobilise investment to increase our production of semi-finished and finished products. This way, we will raise the income and living standards of the populace across the province,” he added.

In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted the government’s intention to develop the Kingdom’s cashew industry. Cambodia currently exports one million tonnes of unprocessed cashew nuts.