Cashew exports plunge 40%, but processed nuts quadruple

The Kingdom exported 271,994.48 tonnes of raw cashew nuts in January-March, down 39.67% year-on-year. RNK

Cambodia exported 213.41 tons of processed cashew nuts in the first quarter of 2022, up more than 300% year-on-year, while exports of raw cashew nuts fell by almost 40% .

The processed cashew nut export figures represent a significant increase of 311.83% compared to the same period last year. Exports to China accounted for 123.38 tons, followed by Thailand with 76 tons, Japan with 12.10 tons and Taiwan with 1.93 tons.

Meanwhile, exports of raw cashew nuts declined, with 271,994.48 tons exported in the first quarter of the year, a decrease of 39.67%. Vietnam was the main market for these exports, accounting for 271,980.90 tons, while China received 13.58 tons.

Cambodian Cashew Association (CAC) President Uon Silot attributed the increase in processed cashew exports to the association’s coordination of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as to its joint efforts with the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade to attract foreign investment in factories.

“The association has … asked the government to coordinate activities and capital for existing SMEs in the Kingdom,” he said.

Silot noted that CAC members are currently drying cashew nuts for three companies that have placed orders, including 4,000 tons for Indian nut brand Ashapura, to be exported to the country from early May, 4,000 tons for US online retailer Olam, to be shipped to factories in Vietnam for packaging, and 2,000 tons of orders for food conglomerate Intersnack to be exported to factories in Vietnam, adding that companies were starting to place more orders.

In Lai Huot, owner of Kampong Thom-based Chey Sambor Cashew Nut Processing Handicrafts, said that last year his company exported a total of around 50 tons of processed cashew nuts to Japanese importers who, a- she said, “promoted quality standards”.

Lay Huot said the company applied for Japanese certification, which would allow his company to export more processed cashews to the country than in 2021.

“Japan is our partner company. In the past, we could export thanks to [our] favorable implementation of quality standards. But this year, Japan requires us to have this certificate to be able to export more.

“Today, the Ministry of Agriculture has helped many companies to obtain this certificate to promote the export of processed cashew nuts rather than raw cashew nuts,” she said.

Silot said the fall in cashew yields at the start of the year was predicted by the association, which warned its members that cashew harvests during this period could drop “between 10 and 30%”. .

He said that climate change is a major and serious factor that has led to declining and poor quality cashew yields.

“One of its weak points is that the cashew needs warmth, not humidity and rain, during the flowering season. The warmer the weather – around 35 to 41 degrees Celsius – the better. is, as it can make it easier for flowers to emerge and seeds to dry.Rain, during a time when flowers are emerging, allows pests and fungal diseases to thrive, forcing farmers to continue to spray fertilizers, including prices continue to rise,” he said.

In addition to declining yields, Silot said prices also fell due to various agricultural issues such as improper use of fertilizers by farmers, declining seed quality and lack of processing factories. , all of which have caused foreign traders to lower the prices they accept. to pay for the crops.

He noted that the price of wet cashews was 2,500-3,500 riels ($0.62-0.86) at the start of 2022 – a significant drop from 2021 prices, which ranged from 3,000 to 4,500 riels.

According to the CAC report, the harvest of raw cashew nuts over the past three years has increased steadily, with over 60,000 tons harvested in 2019, over 950,000 tons in 2020 and exceeding 1,100,000 tons in 2021.