The Ministry of Commerce, in partnership with various stakeholders and development agencies, is gearing up to observe National Cashew Day in the second week of December. The event, set to take place in Kampong Thom province, seeks to elevate the profile of Cambodia’s cashew sector.

Ministry secretary of state Reach Ra chaired an October 31 meeting that brought together specialists from the ministry itself, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Cambodian Cashew Federation (CCF), the Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) and international representatives.

Other attendees included officials from the EU, Germany’s development agency GIZ, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD) and the HEKS Cambodia Programme.

The purpose of the gathering was to discuss and refine the agenda for the upcoming National Cashew Day, ensuring its alignment with the National Policy on Cashew Nuts 2022-27, as per the commerce ministry.

Its spokesperson Pen Sovicheat said activities planned for the event will spotlight the policy, offer insights into best practices within the sector and showcase a range of products.

CAC president Uon Silot said his association has been invited to support the ministry with event arrangements.

He said the agriculture ministry places the cashew sector as the nation’s third-largest contributor after rice and cassava.

However, he highlighted that with 95 per cent of raw cashews exported to Vietnam, the country misses out on significant added value, affecting local farmers and limiting job opportunities. He said the policy has been adopted to address these challenges.

“It primarily aims to position Cambodia as a key producer, catering to local, regional and global cashew markets,” he said.

The ministry further explained that the policy aims to bolster both the quality and competitive yield of cashew production. The long-term vision encompasses promoting industrialisation to increase added value and to repurpose cashew by-products. The target is to achieve a 25 per cent increase by 2027 and a 50 per cent jump by 2032.

The CAC reports that the Kingdom boasts over 650,000ha dedicated to cashew cultivation, which includes 40,000ha of newly acquired farms.

From January to September this year, the nation produced 639,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts. Exports amounted to 613,200 tonnes, valued at $829 million, marking a 16.3 per cent dip from the same period in 2022, as per the ministry.