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Cassava Prices Fall Hard in Kratie Province

Farmers of the cassava tuber in Kratie province have seen prices cut more than half this year, and some of them have vowed to stop growing it.

Prices for fresh cassava fell from 200 riel per kilogram to 80 rile per kilogram, but farmers say they don’t know why. There is virtually no market for dried cassava, farmers said, a commodity that drew 600 riel per kilogram in 2007.

Fifty-six-year-old farmer Voeung Chhun, who owns nine hectares of cassava in Snuol district, implored the government to help farmers find foreign markets.

Leang Seng, chief of Kratie’s agriculture department, said at least half of the province’s farmers were growing the plant on 12,000 hectares of land. The plant produces between 15 tons and 20 tons of cassava root per hectare.

Commerce officials met last week, he said, in an effort to find markets for the root. He was unsure why the prices had fallen so far this year.

Sum Sinamen, Kratie’s commerce department chief, said cassava from the province was exclusively exported to Vietnam, through Cambodian brokers. About 169,000 tons were exported in 2007, up from 118,000 tons in 2006.