Kampot pepper yields are expected to increase significantly in the first harvest since gaining Geographic Indicator status in April 2010, as increased demand from exporters drives up prices.
Output this season is expected to surge by 17 per cent, from 23 tonnes in the last harvest to an estimated 27 tonnes this season.
The increase has been driven by new plantings, which will start to bear fruit.
Nguon Lay, director of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA), said harvesting season runs from January 1 to May 31, but this year the harvesting season seemed slow because of the late-bearing crops.
He said that the expected 27 tonnes this season will come from 12.5 hectares.
“We hope that we will receive 50 tonnes by 2015,” Lay said. He said that of the estimated output, about 20 tonnes were already sold.
Along with strong market demand, he said, the price of pepper is also high. The black peppercorn’s price has gone from $8 per kilogram in 2012 up to $11 in 2013.
At the same time, the price for white peppercorn has increased by $3 per kilogram, from $15 in 2012 to $18 this year. Red pepper remained at the same price – $15 per kilogram.
Each year, of the KPPA’s total pepper production, around 30 to 40 per cent is red and white pepper, and around 60 to 70 per cent is black peppercorns.
According to Lay, conditions for pepper farmers have changed, as has the demand for pepper. Some farmers are able to extend their plantations and purchase modern tools, such as motors, and some have also gained major investors.
The increased demand follows Kampot pepper gaining Geographic Indicator (GI) certification in April 2010. GI is an internationally accepted standard that protects the intellectual property rights of a product from a specific geographical region, such as Champagne from France’s region.
Him Anna, director of Bright Starling Holdings Co, which maintains a pepper plantation in Kampot, produced about 5 to 6 tonnes of pepper in 2012. She said she ordered between 500 kilograms and one tonne of white pepper this year, mostly to supply the US market, while some of it was sold in the domestic market.
Her company exports peppercorn to many countries, but the US and Russia absorbed the majority.
“I think the outside market is good. There is good support because of its quality, and the Kampot pepper market will not decrease as long as the KPPA controls and protects the quality from fake products from other places or countries.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]