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Prahok orb association struggles to catch buyers

This prahok is very good... they just haven’t reached the mainstream yet.

Siem Reap Province
ONE year after its inception, a Siem Reap-based association established to promote a special “aromatic” form of prahok, or fermented fish paste, is still having trouble attracting buyers, many of whom have been driven away by the product’s high price, its director said Thursday.

The Kampong Khlaing Prahok Orb Association, which has received support from the Ministry of Commerce, was established in February 2009 by 50 families from Kampong Khlaing commune, Sotrnikum district.

Director Prum Hong said most vendors are reluctant to sell prahok orb – which is distinctive because it is white and boneless, and because it is not made with chemical preservatives – for fear that customers will be unable to afford the going price of 10,000 riels (US$2.50) per kilogramme.

Ordinary prahok generally costs between 5,000 and 6,000 riels per kilogramme.

Khuon Chansarith, the director of the provincial Commerce Department, said the product had been poorly marketed, meaning most consumers weren’t aware of its existance.

“This prahok is very good because it has high quality and sanitation,” he said. “They just haven’t reached the mainstream yet.”

Prum Hong said he had shown some prahok orb at two trade fairs, one in Siem Reap last May and another in Phnom Penh last December, adding that she had managed to sell a combined total of 80 half-kilogramme bottles.

“But vendors and markets in Phnom Penh are still hesitant to sell it because it’s double the price of ordinary prahok,” she said.

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