PM’s Push for Cambodia to Become Major Cashew Exporter

Prime Minister Hun Sen is pushing for Cambodia to become a leading cashew exporter, but said recycling measures need to be put in place
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 Cambodian Prime Minister said on Tuesday that Cambodia will become a leading cashew exporter to the international market, while calling for local and international recycling investment.

At an inspection of the construction progress of Stung Pursat 1 hydropower plant, Prime Minister Hun Sen said, “I want to make Cambodia a cashew emperor because now cashew produces the most. It's just that we don't have recycling yet. I went to the Kampong Thom exhibition last time. The Ivory Coast country had only 1.100,000 tons, while Cambodia had 1.180,000 tons.”

“This does not take into account the immature plants growing on an area of ​​nearly 700,000 hectares. In the future, if this cashew grows more, it can be distributed in the world market. Every country needs cashew nuts, especially tourism,” the Prime Minister added.

Cashew Nut Association of Cambodia (CAC) Country Director, Uon Silot, said on Tuesday that​ the government should encourage investment in the country to revive and establish special economic zones, or agro-industrial parks that follow export standards.

“We need to encourage local investors rather than wait for foreign investors. Wealthy Cambodians should not focus too much on the real estate sector, they can focus on processing cashews for export,” Silot said.

“CAC also wants the government to help establish a special economic zone with agro-industrial processing plants, or we can provide farmers or transform farmers into grain processors to sell to companies in the agricultural park or economic zones to be processed to meet export standards,” Silot added.

He noted that​ the government should provide special interest loans for agriculture, a fast-growing sector, in addition to special tax exemptions for factories, enterprises or handicrafts that process cashew nuts, including crops agro-industries.

On the other hand, the agricultural authority must provide technical advice to for farmers to local farmers to reduce costs and cope with climate change.

Last year, Cambodia exported 670,000 tons of raw cashew nuts to the international market, worth $ 1.77 billion, according to CAC’s report.