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  • CAC for rise in cashew output, quality and return 01/23/2023

    Jan 23rd, 2023

    As the Council of Ministers has given its approval to the new cashew policy in Cambodia, growers of the commodity are enthusiastic about its outcome. At the same time, the cashew association is focusing on the rise in production, quality and return to farmers. Uon Siloth, President of the Cashew nut Association of Cambodia (CAC), told Khmer Times his ideas for lowering output costs to make the cashew sector more profitable. The draft National Policy on Cashew 2022-27 was approved by the Council of Ministers in a plenary session chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 13. On reducing production costs, Siloth said, “Three factors are important.” Stating that rising prices of inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and gasoline are part of the global trend and Cambodia alone cannot do much about them, he said, “the cashew growers in Cambodia can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers” to lower the overall cost. The second is cutting down unnecessary costs by using the right fertilizers at the right time. “Farmers need to learn how to make simple natural fertilizers on their own to mix with purchased fertilizers, both water and land fertilizers, and how to use the right chemicals according to problem and circumstances,” he said. The third factor, according to him, is going for the varieties that have greater resilience to climate variations. Farmers must plant new cashew varieties to protect against the vulnerabilities of climate change, he said. At present, the average cashew yield is 1-1.5 tons a hectare and depends on the soil, plantation and crop maintenance. According to a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report, in 2020 the average yield was 1.49 tons per hectare. The Cambodian government identifies cashew as an agro-industrial crop as well as one of the 12 priority crops and is trying to increase its productivity and competitiveness through economic diversification. Cambodia figures among the top cashew producers in the world led by the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) of Africa and India. Among ASEAN member states, Cambodia shares the accolade with Vietnam, Burundi and the Philippines. On new markets that can help farmers sell their produce at affordable prices, the CAC president said, “The role of the Ministry of Commerce and the farmers themselves are vital. Also, farmers must work together as a community to sell directly to the factory by managing and distributing the quality of seeds.” Welcoming the new policy, he said it included the points our association wanted for supporting and promoting the cashew sector. “The policy focuses on raising yield and quality of cashew to compete in the market, increasing processing and value-addition by promoting local processing units, and boosting export through market diversification, multi-sector relations, trade facilitation, cost reduction and market advantage promotion,” Siloth said. The government aims at processing about 25 percent of cashew by 2027 and 50 percent by 2032 and promoting exports through market diversification. “We hope that when the policy is released for implementation, these three things will get high attention to develop the cashew industry,” he said. Cambodian cashews are of high quality in terms of both out-turn and nut size and are in demand in overseas. In 2022, Cambodia shipped more than 670,000 tons of raw cashew nuts worth $1.07 billion. While only 5 percent of the total produce is consumed locally, Vietnam accounts for 92 percent of the Cambodian raw cashew shipment, and India around 3 percent. Some other countries also purchase the commodity but in very small quantities.