Kampot pepper prices are set to remain stable for another year as part of an agreement between local producers that caps prices through the end of 2017, a representative of the pepper association said yesterday.
Ngoun Lay, president of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA), said the price of Kampot pepper, which was awarded the World Trade Organisation’s geographical indication (GI) status in 2010, will not increase during the upcoming season, with harvest set for March.
“We will not increase the price for this coming season following our contract in which we agreed to keep prices stable for three years, because we had already made large price increases before the contract,” he said.
He explained that in 2015 an agreement was signed whereby 18 local pepper producers agreed to maintain prices until the end of 2017 at $15 per kilo for black pepper, $25 per kilo for red pepper and $28 per kilo for white pepper.
“We negotiated the price increases with our buyers in order to achieve a sustainable income for our farmers,” he said. “Right now, we do not plan to increase prices after the agreement, but we will study the market in 2018, at which point, if we do increase prices, it will only be by $1 or 50 cents.”
The KPPA currently has 342 members, Lay said, adding that they had a total of 184 hectares under pepper cultivation, of which 80 hectares was ready to be harvested. “We project to be able to harvest 100 tonnes of pepper in the coming season,” he said, adding that last year KPPA members harvested 73 tonnes from 45 hectares.
KPPA will hold its annual meeting on January 23, Lay said, during which the producers will discuss the applications of 50 farmers wanting to join the association. GI status has increased Kampot pepper’s value in the international market, and it currently sells for up to four times the price of non-GI Cambodian pepper.
Hong San, director of the Memot pepper and agricultural development cooperative, said it was difficult to compare the production and prices of the two products, though he noted that pepper produced by his cooperative sells for a much lower $6 to $8 per kilo.
“We cannot compare the price of GI Kampot pepper with our pepper because the quantities harvested are different, though we are satisfied with the current price,” he said.
“If we followed GI production requirements, our farms would not be able to survive because GI requires farming without the chemicals that we use, though our pepper is still of an acceptable standard and is of better quality than in neighbouring countries.”
The Memot association has 297 members with a total of 400 hectares of pepper under cultivation.