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  • Preah Vihear cashew communities team up to grow market share 03/18/2024

    Mar 18th, 2024

    Fourteen cooperatives in Preah Vihear province have joined a cashew farming community network, in an effort to consolidate their sales and access common markets. Initiated by the government, such a community is established to create a single voice for the farmers, which will allow contract farming between the community and the private sector, thereby maintaining the stability of cashew prices. Peung Tryda, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry, said on March 17 that the establishment of agricultural communities is a key focus on empowering farmers through stronger ability to negotiate, as well as increased market information and access to new cultivation techniques, thus improving the income of community members. “In order to facilitate their market access, we have clustered 14 communities with the Preah Vihear Samaki Cashew Agricultural Community Network, made up of more than 40 cooperatives. This network is an important driving force in helping to find new markets for nuts. In the past, some buyers faced challenges when buying from individual farmers,” he added. He encouraged the 14 communities to make efforts to develop the processing potential of their crops, noting that the government has declared processed cashew products an important export item. Tryda added that in addition to processing, the community should work with wholesale buyers to establish contract farming practices in order to maintain value chains and provide access to a consistent market. “The implementation of contract farming production is an honest trade, in line with the policy of the government, through the agriculture ministry. This policy was established in a bid to increase both the quantity and quality of farmers’ products, in order to meet the demands of both domestic and international markets,” he said. Kim Mary, who was elected chairman of the Preah Vihear Samaki Cashew Agricultural Community Network on March 15, explained that her most pressing task will be to resolve some of the challenges that the cashew farming community is facing. She added that in Preah Vihear province, many farmers are currently growing cashew crops on tens of thousands of hectares, harvesting tens of thousands of tonnes of nuts each year. “If the farming community is united, we can share our experience with each other, and develop a clearer understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different cultivation techniques, for example,” she said. “It also enhances broader relationship between the agricultural community and other industry members, state institutions, partner organisations and agricultural development projects. This will help to mobilise low-interest loans or financing grants which will support our growers, in accordance with the government’s ‘National Policy on Cashew Nuts for 2022-27’,” she added. According to a report from the provincial agriculture department, there are about 20,000ha of cashew plantations in Preah Vihear, which will harvest a total of 20,000 tonnes of nuts this year. The current crops are a mix of organic and traditional nut varieties.