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Kampot pepper prices post a new peak

Kampot pepper farmers are hoping to reap the benefits of all-time-high pepper prices as production is slated to increase this year.

The price of black pepper rose from $11 per kilogram in 2013 to $15 this year, while red pepper increased from $15 to $25 and white pepper went from $18 to $26, said Nguon Lay, president of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association.

“The total harvest is expected to be 40 tonnes, while the total cultivation area has increased from 15 to 20 hectares,” said Lay.

Lay said that a lack of supply to keep up with demand was the reason behind the surge in prices.

Although 2014’s 33-tonne harvest could have met the 26-tonne demand from international buyers, only 12 tonnes of the pepper met minimum Geographical Indications requirements stipulated by the World Trade Organization to certify a product’s origin.

Nevertheless, Lay estimated that the pepper harvest would reach 100 tonnes by 2018, when 150 hectares will be ready for cultivation in the region.

Kann Sinouch, a farmer, said he was doubling his pepper tree plantation to 1,000 trees, which he expected to harvest in 2017.

He said rising prices were good news for farmers.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to care for the plants until they bear fruit. This is what farmers deserve.”

Loun Vicheka, an accountant at pepper retailer Starling Farm, said she expected prices to remain stable or even go up in the future, despite production increases.

“Current production supplies only 30 per cent of the total demand,” she said.

“There is very high demand for Kampot pepper in [the] international market.”

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