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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri coffee finds a market

Mondulkiri coffee finds a market

OFFICIALS and vendors said Mondulkiri’s coffee was increasingly popular in local and international markets, after several years of market constraint saw farmers give up the crop to grow rubber instead.

An Chanthy, a Mondulkiri coffee shop owner, said sales had increased to 30 tonnes this year, up from 18 tonnes in 2009 in the local market.  She said her business alone sold almost 700 kilograms this year at the One Province One Product exhibition, increasing from 240 kilograms last year.

“We have had very good sales,” she said.

Bou Sopheap, a coffee farmer in Mondulkiri province, said Vietnamese vendors were buying the produce at a higher price this year, paying US$1.80 per kilo, up from US$1.30 per kilo last year.

Sok Serey, Chief of Mondulkiri provincial Department of Commerce, said coffee was grown on about 50 hectares of farm land in the province, yielding about 70 tonnes, and sold for around 20,000 riel per kilo.

He noted that previously the brew barely had a market and had struggled with adequate pricing in the last several years, with coffee farmers hardly surviving in the past.

Cheng Sochantha, Deputy Director of Mondulkiri administrative office, said in the early 1990s the crop was grown on nearly 200 hectares of land. However as the price dropped to 2,000 riel per kilo, farmers gave up and grew rubber instead.

“We didn’t have market for our coffee and there were many other things that happened,” he said.

However, despite the growing demand, officials cited low capacity of production as an obstacle for exports.

An Chanthy said many foreign companies had sought negotiations to order coffee from her for resale but she dared not sign a contract with them because the low capacity meant she could not always supply on time.

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