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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Leading maker of fish sauce in Cambodia aims for US

Leading maker of fish sauce in Cambodia aims for US

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Kampot

Kampot Fish Sauce looks to branch out and tap into overseas market after complaining of glut of local manufacturers producing substandard goods.

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

A worker manages the production line at the Kampot Fish Sauce factory in Kampot. The company is hoping to make its first overseas sales to the United States. 

THE Kingdom's most popular fish sauce brand has told the Post it is looking to target the US market in a bid to boost sales. Toung Sopheap, the owner of Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce processing factory, which makes Kampot Fish Sauce, said her husband is currently in the United States seeking marketing and distribution partners.

"We need to grow our sales and look at new markets overseas because we have run into some problems with the local market - there are many illegal fish sauce companies making a cheap, low-quality product," she said.

Toung Sopheap said her company is inspected every six months by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, and supplies 60,000 litres of fish sauce, soybean sauce and chilli sauce a month to wholesalers across the country.

"Despite the economic crisis damaging other sectors, we haven't been affected. Production and demand haven't dropped," she said. "I certainly hope we'll export to the US this year, because our sauce is very popular among Cambodian-American visitors to Cambodia."

Meng Saktheara, the director general in charge of the ministry's small and medium enterprise department, said 800 fish and soy sauce manufacturers were operating in Cambodia.

Some - such as Toung Sopheap's factory - are recognised by the ministry as producing a quality product.

The director general of the Institute of Cambodian Standards, Ping Sivlay, said just 30 makers of fish sauce currently hold the Standard Certificate and follow ministry guidelines.

Higher quality required

He said most producers wanting to export would have to adopt better standards in order to meet stringent international food-quality guidelines.

"If the industry wants to improve its quality and meet the standards required to compete with imported and local producers, they should first apply for Cambodia's Standard Certificate," he said.

"That way we can recommend their product and ensure they manufacture according to a proper standard."

The Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce processing factory was established in Kampot in 1995 with a capital investment of US$100,000.

It employs 32 staff, and has 40 storage tanks that refine 2,000 litres of sauce a day.

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