Cassava Exports Drop $25M in First 4 Months

Cassava exports dropped by about $25 million during the first four months of 2014 compared to the same period last year, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Commerce on Monday.

From January to April this year, Cambodia exported 203,934 tons of cassava, worth about $13 million, the figures show. In the corresponding period last year, 273,415 tons, worth about $38 million, were exported.

Banteay Meanchey provincial agronomy office chief Run Sophanara said that the October 2013 floods were to blame for the significant drop.

“The cassava export dropped at the beginning of this year because of flood that happened in October, affecting the cassava plantation,” he said.

Mr. Sophanara added that farmers in Banteay Meanchey—where the majority of Cambodia’s cassava is grown—have now also begun worrying over this year’s yield, as torrential rains continue to lash their crops.

“We don’t yet know how much cassava we can produce this year,” he said.

Chouy Tav, a cassava farmer in Banteay Meanchey’s Thma Puok district, said he was selling dried cassava for about 657 riel (about $0.16) per kilogram Monday, down from about 767 riel (about $0.19) last year.

“We don’t have our own market,” Mr. Tav said.

“It depends on how much the brokers offer us.”

Mr. Tav said he has observed a decrease in business with Thai brokers and blamed the political unrest in that country for the dip.

Mr. Sophanara, however, said that Thailand has only ever been a small market for Cambodia’s cassava, with Vietnam the main market.

reaksmey@cambodiadaily.com

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