Cashew Policy Gateway to Export Market

A policy to boost Cambodia’s cashew industry has been given the green light, with hopes high Cambodia can position itself as a leading global exporter
Cashew nuts on sales in a market in Phnom Penh, January 4, 2023. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Cashew nuts on sales in a market in Phnom Penh, January 4, 2023. Kiripost/Siv Channa

A national policy to push Cambodia’s cashew industry has been approved with the aim of transforming the sector into a major global supplier.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, on January 13, the government approved the “Draft National Policy on Cashew 2022-2027”, with the aim of creating a more competitive environment within cashew product production marketing and turning Cambodia into a major producer and supplier of cashew products for local and international markets.

Cashew is an agro-industrial crop and one of the government’s 12 priority crops. These are crops farmers are encouraged to grow to diversify their yields and increase income.

The Ministry said in a statement that to continue to promote competitive agro-trade, quality and safe products, the introduction of a national policy on cashews is necessary in line with other policies and strategic frameworks to ensure competitive advantage for local, regional and global markets.

The policy was developed through site research, export processing and consulting workshops, as well as consultation with relevant ministries to ensure targeted and effective implementation.

“It will serve as a roadmap and effective driving force for strengthening the productivity of cashew production, enhancing competitiveness in both yield and quality, diversification, processing, exports and value added to stakeholders in the value chain,” the Ministry said.

“It will attract more investment, and find old markets and new markets that will create employment opportunities for people, as well as reduce poverty, migration and promote national economic growth.”

Cashew Nut Association of Cambodia Country Director, Uon Silot, said on Monday that the policy includes some points that increase the output of production and encourage industrialization that lead to a rise in the price of harvesting and processing of cashew by-products.

This promotes exports through market diversification, cross-sectoral linkages in trade, trade facilitation, cost reduction and market superiority.

“This is what the Cambodian Cashew Association wants. Now that the stakeholders have put it into policy, we hope that these points will be implemented and the cashew sector will improve,” Silot told Kiripost.

He believes the national policy is important because it takes into account financial support and human resource development infrastructure, as well as the production of cashew nuts and processing for export.

Silot said the employment this creates can also work towards helping reduce the volume of migrant workers.

Ratanakiri cashew nut farmer, Heng Panha, said the policy will encourage more investors in Cambodia. Currently, Cambodia only exports unprocessed raw seeds to Vietnam and now heavily relies on that market.

“If it [cashews] are processed, we hope more factories will open in Cambodia, which is also a country that produces the most cashew nuts. We are a country that produces a lot but we’re not a processed country. What a tragedy, I hope to sell [cashews] to the local market. I hope our people support our product; this is my goal,” Panha told Kiripost.

In 2022, Cambodia exported 670,000 tons of raw cashew nuts to the international market, worth $ 1.77 billion, a decrease of 34.65 percent. Most cashew nut farming is carried out in 10 provinces, including Tbong Khmum, Preah Vihear, Kampong Cham, Kratie, and Kampong Thom.