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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cambodia: Huge increase in cassava exports in 2011

The Ministry of Commerce in Cambodia have released figures which show an incredible growth rate of 111% in 2011 for cassava exports.

Cambodia exported 277,291 tonnes of fresh and dry cassava worth US$12.44 million in 2011, up from 131,312 tonnes worth about $4 million the year before.

Next year's exports could face challenges however, as buyers are expected to delay purchases. Some farmers have also reported a ban on Cambodian cassava in Thailand.

Cassavas exports grew because farmers increased production on increased international demand and rising prices, Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Chan Nora said.

“Farmers saw the increase in cassava price and that made them grow more.”

But the price has since fallen after farmers in Cambodia’s western provinces flooded the market with the crop, Chan Nora said.

Delayed orders in Thailand have caused difficulty for many Cambodian farmers who abandoned other crops, such as corn, to harvest cassava, he said.

Sam Yin, president of Malai Trading Company in Banteay Meanchey province, said Thai border authorities banned cassava exports from Cambodia on January 24. Farmers have been left with excessive unharvested cassava, he said.

“Now farmers are very worried because the cassava market is not stable and 50 per cent of the cassava in Banteay Meanchey has yet to be collected,” Sam Yin said, noting the surge in cassava farming in 2011.

Prices have dropped substantially since farmers turned to cassava as a cash crop, he said. But exports to Thailand could resume as soon as next month when the Thai supply of cassava runs out.

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