New marketing campaign for Kampong Speu palm sugar and Kampot pepper to launch within the next two months
A farmer checks his pepper crop in Kampot last week. Kampot pepper is among the first two of the Kingdom’s products to be advertised as part of the process towards Georgraphical Indicator status.
CAMBODIAN consumers will soon find themselves targeted in a campaign to promote two of the Kingdom's most distinctive locally-grown products - Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar.
The move is linked to an initiative by the Commerce Ministry and the French devlopment agency AFD, on behalf of the European Commission, to have the status of Geographical Indicator, or GI, awarded to the two foods.
GI provides consumers with a way to differentiate competing products, with foodstuffs grown outside the defined geographic area forbidden from carrying the same name. The most common example is that of Champagne, which can only be so labelled if is from the Champagne region of France.
Jean Marie Brun, an agriculture and rural development specialist from GRET, an aid group, said the project to advertise Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar would start within two months.
"We need time to do the job because we have to go through different stages," he told the Post. "We have to arrange logos for each product properly. We will try our first ad campaign at the end of next month."
Brun talked to the Post at a workshop Tuesday at the Ministry of Commerce. The workshop, which was attended by 30 representatives of the Kampot Pepper Association and the Kampong Speu Sugar Association, was held to discuss strategies to promote local knowledge both of the concept of GI and of these two foodstuffs.
Rachael Lowe, a consultant at Agricultural Department International, a consulting company, told attendees that many people assumed well-packaged products were always more expensive. That could encourage them to look at cheaper alternatives.
However her study found that 4 million of the Kingdom's 13.4 million people aged between 15 and 64 could afford these two products if they gave priority to their health rather than basing their decision solely on price.
Her conclusion was that producers should educate consumers that Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar are high quality, safe, natural and healthy, and should be part of their daily lives.
Sam Saroeun, the president of the Cambodian Sugar Association, which has 142 members in two districts of Kampong Speu, said he was confident that high-quality and properly produced foodstuffs would find favour with consumers.
"If we can produce sugar of a high quality and with good hygiene, we may even find that demand from local markets - especially Phnom Penh - could be too large for us to supply," he said.
Jerome Benezech, general director of FarmLink, which works with Kampot pepper farmers, said Cambodians generally know about Kampot pepper.
"So what they have to do next is to direct their advertisements to medium and well-off consumers explaining to them the difference between Kampot pepper and pepper imported from Vietnam," he told the Post.
"The Cambodian markets are good and help to encourage producers and distributors a lot," he said. "And in my opinion, selling pepper in Cambodia is better than in other countries."
FarmLink last year sold 2 tonnes of pepper - half in-country and the rest to France.