Optimism as Cashew Season Gets Under Way

As the cashew-harvesting season in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces begins, farmers are expecting a good crop due to favorable weather conditions last year, an official said yesterday.

Tem Roeun, deputy agronomist at the Ratanakkiri provincial agriculture department, said that the cashew harvest—which runs from late January through June—was off to a good start.

“I think it will produce much more than last year, he said, ex­plaining that the reason for his optimism was the absence of rain during the crop’s vulnerable flowering stage around November.

“We saw that the weather was cool, that will make the cashews grow better this year, and it didn’t rain very often,” he said.

He said cashews had been planted on about 17,000 hectares of farmland in the province, with each hectare expected to produce between 400 and 500 kg of wet—straight from the tree—cashews.

The vast majority of cashews grown in Cambodia are shipped in their shells over the border to Vietnam, the world’s largest cash­ew exporter, where they are proc­essed and exported to international markets.

Heun Sam Aoun, 22, a farmer who has planted cashews on 100 hectares of land in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung City, said that the price of the nuts was higher than last year, with a kilogram of wet cash­ews selling for between 3,800 and 4,200 riel, or between $0.95 and $1.05.

“Last year, the price was only 3,200 or 3,300 riel [about $0.83] per kg, but this year, the price is better because there are many traders coming to buy cashews from Vietnam.”

Katorm Sonavan, agronomy chief of the Kompong Cham provincial agriculture department, said that about 15 percent of the crop in the province had been harvested already, but he could not predict how this year’s yield would compare to previous ones.

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