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International interest in Cambodian sugar

Sweet news for Cambodian palm-sugar farmers: 10 international companies are keen to import their produce, one of the Kingdom’s signature products.

Sam Saroeun, president of the Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association, said that after an exhibition in South Korea earlier this month, several international importers had expressed interest in buying.

Kampong Speu sugar is one of the few Cambodian products that have an internationally recognised geographic indicator: a certificate that ensures the product is not made in another location.

Eight of the interested companies are from South Korea.

A Philippine and an Indian company also reportedly have plans to buy the product.

“They asked us to send an e-mail to them about prices and the palm sugar producing technique, and now we are waiting for their answer,” Sam Saroeun said.

“We believe they will buy palm sugar from us, because they said that if we ask for a fair price, then they will accept it.”

The companies had yet to specify when, or how much, of the sugar they would purchase, Sam Saroeun said.

Cambodian fish paste, known as prahok, is also protected by a geographic indicator.

Several other Cambodian products, including a number of fruits, also sought to earn the recognition this year but were constrained by processing fees, the Post reported.

It is hoped that geographic indicators will help push Cambodian specialty products on to the international market, an area to which they have had little exposure.

Last year, the association produced a total of 260 tonnes of palm sugar, but the volume would be less this year because of a late harvest, officials said.

It was unclear whether the decrease in supply would be felt by companies looking to export the sugar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sieam Bunthy at



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