The Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association (KSPSPA) has expressed optimism that the EU’s recognition of Kampong Speu palm sugar will strengthen the Kingdom’s palm sugar market and better serve farmers.
KSPSPA president Sam Saroeun said international recognition of it being a Cambodian product with a geographical indication (GI) status would help increase the value of the palm sugar, and ensure quality and food safety for international consumption as well as income for the farmers who produce it.
Kampong Speu province’s palm sugar was registered as a protected product by the EU at the beginning of this month.
Cambodia initially sent an application seeking to register the name “Skor Thnot Kampong Speu” – Kampong Speu palm sugar – for protected GI status to the European Commission on October 3, 2017, according to the Official Journal of the EU.
Pride in sugar production
Initially scheduled to be registered in April last year, the application faced delays as EU law stipulated that a more refined definition of what constitutes “Skor Thnot Kampong Speu” was required.
This is the second Cambodian GI product after “Kampot Pepper” was registered in February 2016.
“EU recognition will protect our palm sugar in the EU market, and will build consumer confidence in food safety. Our name will be maintained by the EU, and farmers will be proud to produce palm sugar,” Saroeun said.
He added that a farmer can earn at least $3,000 per year with GI palm sugar, which can sell from 5,000 riel ($1.25) per kg.
KSPSPA has 168 members, who are expected to produce 250 tonnes of Kampong Speu palm sugar this year.
Currently there are 10 palm sugar exporters which export to 20 countries. Major destinations are Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the EU, the association said. They also supply the domestic market.
Kampong Speu Palm Tree Agricultural Cooperative president Hong Hoeun said EU recognition had ignited farmers’ passion in palm sugar production.
“We are palm sugar producers – we are so proud of our palm sugar production and that our sugar is recognised by the EU market. That will add more value to our product,” he said.