Cashew Exports Fall by 34.65%

Cambodia’s export of cashew nuts tumbled by 34.65 percent in 2022, amid climate change challenges and the rising cost of fuel and fertilizer
A cashew nut tree in Kampot province. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A cashew nut tree in Kampot province. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Cashew Nut Association of Cambodia said on Wednesday that the country has exported a total of 670,000 tons of raw cashew nuts to the international market, valued at about $1.07 billion, a decline of 34.65 percent due to climate change.

Citing the reports of Vietnamese customs, the head of the association, Uon Silot, said that 95 percent of the cashew nuts have been exported to the neighboring country, at 660,000 tons, a decrease of 37 percent.

Depending on the quality of the seeds, dried cashew nuts cost on average between 5,500 riels to 7,200 riels per kilogram.

Silot said farmers have harvested less harvest, at lower quality, and received cheap sales amid rising prices of fertilizers, pesticides, and gasoline in the last two years, in addition to climate change.

“These problems have prompted farmers to clear away 100,000 hectares of cashew trees in the previous two years, bringing the total area of cashew trees from 800,000 hectares to only 700,000 hectares by the end of 2022,” Silot told Kiripost.

Silot said he still expects that Cambodia will be able to produce between 800,000 and 1 million tons of raw cashew nuts by 2023, despite the fact there are now just 700,000 hectares.

This year's crop is in blooming quicker than in past years, and because this may be turned around by the mid-February dew, the cashew harvest might start by the end of January.

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

The association said that due to climatic change, cashew output has grown over the past four years, from 2019 to 2021. Cambodia exported a total of 600,000 tons of cashew nuts in 2019, 950,000 tons in 2020 and 1.1 million tons in 2021.

The price of dried cashew goods exported from Cambodia has decreased yearly. It was between $1,800 and $2,000 per ton in 2019, $1,500 and $1,800 in 2020, $1,300 and $1,600 in 2021, and $1,350 and $1,700 in 2022.

Silot added that 2 percent of the exports had gone to India, and 3 percent was stored for local processing.

The domestic output is quite small, he said, adding that there are only four cashew nut manufacturers in Cambodia because they are so tiny. This makes it hard to estimate how much they can export, but he estimated only 400 tons of processed cashew nuts.

Due to excessive rain and poor seed quality, the harvest last year was poor. As a result, prices plunged, with some cashew nuts selling for less than 2,000 riel per kilogram.

Ratanakiri cashew nut farmer Heng Panha said that during the harvest season, cashew nuts are in high demand, early price fluctuations lead to excellent prices. However, the midst of the harvest season will see very low prices and at the end of the season, cashews based on quality can be bargained to raise the price.

“Due to the fact that the Vietnamese collect all of the orders, the price should increase this year. As a result, at the start of this season, in 2023, there will be an increase in orders, which will result in a price increase,” Panha told Kiripost on Wednesday.

Most cashew nut farming is done in 10 provinces, including Tbong Khmum, Preah Vihear, Kampong Cham, Kratie, and Kampong Thom.