Cashew farmers and brokers said they expect prices for cashews to be higher during this year’s harvest, which began in the northeast of the country last week, compared to last year.
Kuoy Kea, a cashew farmer in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district, said by telephone Friday that during last year’s harvest prices began at 2,000 riel per kilo and ended at 1,800 riel, while this year prices already stand at 2,500 riel per kilogram.
“Last year I did not get profit from the cashew nuts because I spent a lot of money on laborers and the [cashew] price was cheap,” he said. “I hope the price is good this year because the beginning of the harvest is already good.”
Touch Ra, a cashew broker in Kompong Cham province, said Vietnamese traders showed high demand for cashews during the middle of last year when supplies were low, and have already said that they are expecting a high demand from Vietnam buyers this season.
“The cashew nuts still have a market. The Vietnamese trader have told me the price will not go under 2,000 riel per kilogram,” he said.
Hun Bun Yi, director of the Kompong Cham provincial agriculture department, said by telephone that last year’s low prices had caused some farmers to stop planting cashews in favor of the more lucrative rubber trees.
In 2009, there were 11,155 hectares of cashew farms in Kompong Cham province, but only 7,155 this year, he said, adding that he did not know if lowered supply would also affect prices.
“The price of the cashew nut was not good and the price of the [rubber] resin was too much,” he said of the difference in both crops.
Chamroeun, a cashew broker in Ratanakkiri who would not give his family name, said Vietnamese traders last month agreed to prices of 3,000 riel per kilo, but that was at the very beginning of the season when supplies were still low.
“We don’t know the rate yet, but I expected that this year the price of the cashew nuts will be more expensive than last year. Our prediction can be right or wrong. But at the end of last month traders…gave me 3,000 riel per kilogram,” he said.