Cambodia produced 260,000 tons of raw cashew nuts in the first quarter of 2023, of which 233,050 tons were exported to Vietnam for $320 million, but exports decreased by 12.95 percent compared with the same period in 2022.
Uon Silot, country director of the Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC), told Kiripost that the data was collected from warehouses in six provinces that export to Vietnam. It was also compared with data from the Vietnamese Customs and the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas).
The CAC director said that farmers are holding off on selling their crops in the hope of gaining higher prices in August when demand for dried cashew nuts is typically higher.
"The drop in raw crude cashew nuts exports is due to the fall of cashew nuts in mid-March," Silot said. "So, members of the CAC, who have access to their warehouses, have stopped selling wet seeds and dried them when prices rise in August."
He added that the price of wet cashews that sell below $1 make a loss; $1 to $1.25 will see farmers break-even.
In 2022, the price was slightly lower than in 2023 due to the poor quality of seeds. However, the price of wet seeds in 2023 was more stable from the end of January to mid-March, with prices between $1.30 and $1.55. Starting from March 18, prices fell to between $1 and $1.25.
The reason for the CAC giving farmers dried crops and waiting until August to sell them is that every year dried cashew nuts are in high demand during that month.
“The current price of wet cashew nuts is 0.925 cents to $1, but dried cashew nuts can be $1.50 to $1.75 in August.”
Nhep Ponthan, a farmer who planted five tons of cashew nuts on six hectares in Kampong Thom, said, “The yield has not been good so far. The first crops had a small yield and the yield was good to sell at a high price, but, currently, it is extremely low.”
He added the price of the first harvest of wet cashew nuts was between $1.125 and $1.325, but it has now fallen to below $1 because the quality of the raw cashew nuts is not so good, and yields have been hit by heavy rain and fruit worms.
“When the price decreases, we hold off to sell and wait to dry-hold cashew nuts to realize a stable market price in August, which is the last harvest season,” he said.
Cambodia has many markets for cashew exports, but Vietnam is a major importer
He added that some farmers need large spaces to dry cashew nuts and it takes time, so they are forced to sell at decreased prices.