Cashews: the phoenix from the ashes

November 16, 2022 at 12:22 PM, Der AUDITOR
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HANOI/PHNOM PENH. After Cambodia had massively reduced its acreage not even ten years ago due to various difficulties, the situation has now turned around with Vietnam's help. Vietnam itself is also benefiting greatly from this situation.

Proximity offers advantages

In 2017, the Vietnamese business delegation led by Nguyen Duc Thanh, then chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), first announced its intention to massively promote trade with Cambodia. Looking back, Nguyen told Vinacas: "As recently as 2014, Cambodia sold only about 30% of its cashew nut production to Vietnam. Although the quality was relatively good, the production of Cambodian cashews was not high at that time, so the main suppliers of raw cashew nuts for Vietnamese buyers were still African countries. However, there is a big risk for Vietnamese companies in terms of transactions and transport distance from Africa to Vietnam. Our orientation at the time was to source raw cashew nuts more from Cambodia, which was close to the border and easier to pay."

Significant progress in Cambodia

At the time, the Cambodian cultivated area was around 300,000 ha, but due to unstable commodity prices and poor organisation, it was soon after reduced to only around 100,000 mt. This is where Vinacas came in, still keen to source most of its raw nuts from the neighbouring country. Cambodian growers were given support in variety selection, cultivation techniques, harvesting and preservation, so that profits increased for the participating farmers. Through the joint efforts of both countries, the goal of cultivating an area of 1 million ha was soon achieved. The result of this is also impressive: As Vinacas reports in reference to the customs office, 1 million mt of RCN have already been exported from Cambodia to Vietnam in 2021. If this course is maintained, Cambodia could soon surpass Côte d'Ivoire as the largest producer of RCN and become the world's most important supplier, according to Vinacas.

Prices for Vietnamese cashews have declined slightly on the European spot market compared to last week. Cashews, LBW320 currently cost EUR 5.55/kg FCA Spain.

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