ARDB to add $30M more to cashew nut sector this year

ARDB to add $30M more to cashew nut sector this year

The state-run Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) will provide an additional $30 million in loans to the

cashew nut sector to be used as working capital in collecting nuts for stockpiling and processing for supply to the domestic market and exports.

Currently, the Rural Development and Agriculture Bank has prepared another budget of about $30 million to provide loans for the purchase of cashew nuts in 2024, additional over $30 million disbursed previously, Phan Phalla, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy and Finance said at a public forum on macroeconomy and budget law 2024 held on Monday.

“The budget is aimed to boost the domestic cashew processing chain to reduce the export of fresh cashew nuts out of the country,” he said.

The government, through the ARDB and the state-owned SME Bank, has continuously disbursed loans for the development of this potential sector to contribute to the promotion of cashew production and the export of processed cashew nuts to international markets.

The SME Bank also received about $100 million from the government to provide small and medium enterprises (SME) with working capital to solve the challenges in the cashew production chain as well as to promote the growth of the cashew processing industry in Cambodia.

Silot Uon, Country Director, Cashew Nut Association of Cambodia (CAC), said that the cashew nut sector in Cambodia needs at least $300 million per year in working capital.

“When we do not have working capital to buy cashew nuts, the raw cashew nuts would be sold abroad. This often results in the production lines being shut down for months at a time. Some companies are out of stock for three or eight months,” Silot told Khmer Times.

Cambodia officially exported a total of 425,977 tonnes of raw cashew nuts abroad last year, down 9.9 percent on a year-on-year basis, according to a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries report.

Cashew plantations are found mostly in the provinces of Kampong Cham, Thbong Khmum, Kampong Thom, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap and Kampong Chhnang, stated the report.

The ministry stated that Cambodia ranks among the top 10 producers of cashew nuts in the world, but it only processes between five and 10 percent of the produce.

The remaining 90 percent, which is raw cashew nuts, is exported to other countries, mainly Vietnam, where nuts are processed and re-exported at higher prices to global markets.

The government has launched the National Cashew Policy 2022-2027, a roadmap focusing on three major strategic goals — production, processing and exports as it aims to become the number 1 country producing the largest amount of cashew nuts in the world. khmertimeskh

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