Cambodian Cashew Federation (CCF) president An Dara travelled to Vietnam last week for talk with the president of the Vietnam Cashew Association in Ho Chi Minh City. He announced on August 2 that the meeting aimed to promote closer cooperation between the CCF and their Vietnamese counterparts.

The meeting came as Cambodia has become the largest producer of cashews in the world. Vietnam is the world’s largest processor and exporter of the nuts.

Dara said the main purpose of the talks was to share mutual experiences, as well as to increase cooperation. He also wanted to encourage processing enterprises in Vietnam to buy raw materials directly from the Kingdom’s farmers and local communities, rather than going through brokers, which reduced the profit farmers saw from their labour.

“Vietnam buys more than 95 per cent of Cambodia’s raw cashew nuts. As we share a border, transportation infrastructure is established and simple. Currently however, about 85 to 90 per cent of cashew sales to Vietnamese companies are made through brokers,” he explained.

He said the CCF would like to see large-scale, high standard Vietnamese order more cashews directly from the Kingdom, noting that despite being the world’s largest producer of cashews, only about 5 per cent of the Cambodian cashews are processed in-country.

“Purchasing directly from farmers can be done through the CCF, which will work with farmers to ensure that harvesting and drying are done to the highest standards,” he added.

Nok Bunthon, a grower and president of the Kampong Thom Cashew Nut Association, said that selling cashew nuts to brokers actually earns farmers less than selling directly to Vietnamese companies. In addition, brokers sometimes lower prices at their own discretion, especially when cashews are plentiful.

“When cashews are abundant, it is common for brokers to offer lower prices. It is up to farmers whether or not they accept the low prices, but sometimes they need an income to pay their debts, so they accept a lower price,” he explained.

Bunthon believed that encouraging more cashew processing plants to buy directly would stabilise prices, without having to rely on the Vietnamese market alone.

According to Dara, as Cambodia is preparing to host next year’s World Cashew Conference, he also invited the Vietnamese association to share its experience of organising the forum.

“In addition, we also want Vietnamese processing companies to use the forum to show how their products are processed to the fullest extent possible, both the kernels and shells,” he said.

He explained that the federation is attempting to accelerate processing of Cambodian cashews, in accordance with the national policy on cashews, which aims to process 25 per cent in 2027 and 50 per cent by 2032.