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A Partnership Launches a Processor Into International Exports

In Laihout began her career as a cashew farmer and as her technical knowledge and business skills expanded after working in various roles in the cashew subsector, she became the owner of Chey Sambo Cashew Nut Processing Handicraft (CSC). Drawing on her initial experience and her boundless energy and determination, Laihout developed CSC's mission: to sell Cambodia's processed cashew in domestic and international markets by establishing contract farming agreements with producers, thus ensuring a consistent quantity and quality of raw cashew nuts. CSC is also dedicated to empowering women, prioritizing the employment of local women to work in its processing facility.

Gender equity and empowerment is a priority for Abt Global, too, and USAID’s Abt-led Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest II awarded CSC an Investment Accelerator grant to help catalyze investment in its production capacity. The cashew processor invested $305,776 to upgrade the factory's equipment, including a peeling machine, DC-shell machine, grading machine, vacuum packing machine, waste-water treatment, and other equipment. The new equipment facilitated compliance with international food safety standards, environmental requirements, and expanded production capacity, increasing the local and international competitiveness of CSC's processed cashew.

Laihout proudly shared, "The grant helped CSC improve the capacity of processing to respond to market demand, now there are many buyers ordering finished cashew products from the factory." Ms. Laihout is a pioneer in helping the country capture added value from this valuable commodity, grown by tens of thousands of smallholder farmers.

Aiming to access additional international markets, CSC is participating in Harvest II's Export Competitiveness Program for Local Cashew Processors, facilitated by Abt and HEKS. The integrative program helps domestic processors build competitiveness and resilience by raising awareness about growing demand in the sector, providing stakeholders a blueprint to access the most relevant opportunities, and guiding them as they build their cashew processing and exporting capacity.

Utilizing a holistic action plan, CSC continues working with Harvest II and other partners to capture every opportunity to learn, improve, and expand – promoting prosperity and sustainability across Cambodia's cashew subsector.

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