The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Vietnam Cashew Association this week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that aims to bolster the production of cashews nuts in Cambodia to reach 1 million tonnes a year.
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The MoU was signed by Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon and Nguyen Duc Thanh, president of the Vietnam Cashew Association.
The Vietnam Cashew Association agreed to share with local farmers advancements in technology related to planting and harvesting, as well as boost investment in local plantations, contract farming, and research.
Mr Sakhon said that the agreement seeks to address rising demand for the agricultural commodity in the kingdom.
“Based on the MoU, the Ministry of Agriculture will urge farmers and companies to plant cashew,” Mr Sakhon wrote on his personal Facebook page.
“We hope that in the near future, Cambodia will be able to produce one million tonnes of cashews.”
Kong Pheach, director the agro-industry department in the Ministry of Agriculture, said the minstry’s goal will be achieved within a decade.
“With guaranteed markets through contract farming, and support from Vietnam, plantations will definitely increase and we will be able to reach an output of 1 million tonnes in less than 10 years,” Mr Pheach said.
The Vietnam Cashew Association has announced plans to set up plantations in Cambodia equaling 500,000 hectares.
Mr Pheach confirmed the association’s plans, but both sides failed to provide a specific location for the massive plantation project.
Last year, Cambodia produced more than 104,000 tonnes of cashew nuts. Nearly all of it (100,000 tonnes) was bought by cashew-processing companies in Vietnam.
Oum Uon, president of the Cashew Nut Association in Kampong Thom province, welcomed the agreement, saying it will help advance farmers’ skills and bolster local production.
“Unfortunately, in Cambodia, the lack of know-how and funds make farmers very uncompetitive. The result is that most fresh cashew nuts end up in the hands of traders, who sell them to Vietnam,” Mr Uon explained.
Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham and Ratanakkiri are the biggest provinces in terms of area allocated to the cultivation of cashews, with 27, 18 and 17 percent of total cultivated land growing the crop, respectively.