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Cashew Processing Could Increase Earnings for Poor Cambodian Farmers, Shows IFC Study

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 3, 2010 —A new study by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, shows that Cambodia’s cashew industry could earn an additional $30 million to $40 million a year and benefit poorer farmers if more processing is done locally.
The study, Prospects for Cambodia’s Cashew Sub-sector, finds that there is great potential for increasing value added for the country’s cashew sector.  It was published jointly by IFC, the European Union, and Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy.
Speaking at the report launch, Secretary of State of Ministry Industry, Mines, and Energy H.E. Phok Sovanrith noted that the government is keen to see the industry expand because of its potential to improve earnings for poorer farmers who grow cashews.  “More local processing would also create jobs in rural areas such as harvesting, shelling, and packing cashews for export,” he said.
Cambodian cashews also could earn much higher prices if they were certified as organic. Families that grow cashews use few or no agrochemicals so most production is organic, according to Rafael Dochao Moreno, Chargé d’Affaires for the Delegation of the European Union in Cambodia.  He said, “Results from training more than 4,000 cashew-growing households show that obtaining organic certification for farmers is very achievable and simple improvements in cultivation, harvesting, and storage can significantly improve cashew production.”
As long-term demand for cashews is growing worldwide, there is an opportunity for Cambodia to capitalize on this trend by doing more local processing instead of exporting most of its crop for processing and sale to other countries.
“Now is a good time for Cambodia to establish a competitive cashew-processing industry given firm demand and pricing on international markets,” said Charles Schneider, IFC Head of Office in Cambodia.  “If local processors meet international health and safety standards, they can assure themselves of a reliable market and top prices, which will help expand the sector, create more jobs, and considerably increase incomes of cashew farmers.”  
The study is part of a five-year agricultural supply chain project implemented by IFC in partnership with the European Union, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy.  In Cambodia’s cashew subsector, the project strengthens cashew farmers’ associations and emerging cashew-trading firms so they can provide training and other forms of support to smallholders.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .