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Shortages push up cashew price

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Cashew nuts
Cambodian cashew apples ready for harvest. Luca Penati

The price of fresh cashews has jumped by about 30 percent over the price last year due to shortages of the nut and the fact that the harvest will not get into full swing until early next month.
 
A lack of investment in technology to process the fresh cashews has also pushed up prices.  
 
Oum Uon, the president of a cashew nut association in Kampong Thom province, said fresh cashew prices had risen to about 8,500 riel (about $2.12) per kilo, compared with 6,500 riel ($1.60) per kilo last year.
 
He added that the processing, packaging and distribution costs of cashews made up the shop price of $15 to $17.50 per kilo.  
 
Mr. Uon said the yield for cashews this year would be less than the previous year because of unfavorable weather. This pushed up prices.
 
He said that his association comprised more than 300 families in three districts in Kampong Thom province – Prasat Sambour, Prasat Balangk and Kampong Svay.
 
He added that the association expects to get about 30 tonnes of fresh cashews from this year’s harvest.
 
Thiv Vanthy, the director of the agriculture department in Kampong Thom, said the weather had varied for cashew farmers in different parts of the province, but there was a high standard of fresh nuts.
 
Besides the local market, the main markets for fresh cashews were Vietnam and Thailand.
 
He said that prices had climbed from about 3,000 riel ($0.75) to about $2 per kilogram this year, from 5,000 riel ($1.25) last year.
 
Kampong Thom had about 25,000 hectares of cashew plantations, providing and average yield of 500kg  to 800kg  per hectare.  
 
“We always help promote new technology on growing, harvesting and storage to farmers,” Mr. Vanthy said.
 
“Our experts always come to help them.
 
“Farmers are really happy with the price of cashew nuts rising this year, however we don’t have any investment in high technology to process cashew nuts in our province,” Mr. Vanthy said.
 
Loeng Kimsean, the owner of Chamkarleu Cashew Nut, said the prices had jumped dramatically. Harvesting would be in March, though in some areas the harvest had started.
 
Mr. Kimsean, who has planted five hectares of cashew nuts, said his produce was only for his own processing.
 
“This year, the yield will be lower than last year when one hectare provided less than one tonne of fresh cashew nuts while it was three tonnes in 2015,” he added.
 
Mr. Kimsean said the yield of cashew nuts was low, but prices were high.
 
On Monday, representatives from South Korean firm Hwashin Construction met Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon to discuss potential investment of about $200 million on cashew nut exports and development of the irrigation system in Cambodia.

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