The Agriculture Ministry yesterday said Cambodia is still waiting for Vietnamese companies to invest in Cambodia’s cashew, after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed almost a year ago.
In January, the ministry signed the MoU with the Vietnam Cashew Association to bolster Cambodia’s cashew production to one million tonnes per year.
“They wanted to come to sign an agricultural contract with local farmers to export cashew nuts, but until now I have not received any new requests from the Vietnamese side to invest here,” said Kong Pheach, director of the ministry’s agro-industry department.
Oum Uon, president of the Cashew Nut Association, yesterday said his association welcomes all forms of technical assistance to improve the local cashew industry.
However, he also said that the association has not heard from any Vietnamese investors.
“It has been one year since the MoU was signed. We will wait for their technical assistance and their cashew seeds,” Mr Uon said. “When they do come, we will study and learn more to improve our cashew industry.”
He noted that if Vietnamese companies are still willing to invest in the cashew industry in Cambodia, then they will be welcomed.
However, Mr Uon said that investment opportunities are open to everyone.
“However, there is a local merchant who contacted our association to start a cashew plantation, covering more than 200 hectares of land,” he said.
Hean Vanhan, Secretary of State with the Agriculture Ministry, said last month that the ministry will always look to boost the agriculture sector in Cambodia as a whole.
“Our effort is to have support for technical assistance and to have seeds that are better than our local seeds,” Mr Vanhan said. “Although cooperation with VCA is necessary, we still need to know what type of seeds they are bringing before we even conduct trial run.”
Over the last few years, Vietnam has been the biggest market for Cambodia’s cashew nut export, he added.
Last year, Cambodia produced more than 104,000 tonnes of cashew nuts. Nearly all of it was bought by cashew-processing companies in Vietnam.
The selling price for raw cashew ranges from about $1.62 to $2 per kilogram, while processed cashew nuts are sold at $17 per kilogram, Mr Uon said.
The provinces of Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham and Ratankkiri are the biggest in terms of areas allocated to cultivate cashew nuts, with 27, 18 and 17 percent of total cultivated land growing the crop, respectively.
Cashew nuts are grown in the provinces of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom.