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Cambodia wakes up to coffee

Cambodia wakes up to coffee

The Cambodian coffee industry has seen a rapid increase in market value over the last few years, rising from production of about 18 tonnes per year in 2009, to more than 2,370 tonnes last year, market insiders said.

Local coffee sales increased to 30 tonnes in 2010, up from 18 tonnes in 2009, said An Chanthy, a Mondulkiri coffee shop owner.

In the 1990s coffee was grown on almost 200 hectares of land, but due to a fall in price to 2,000 riels per kilo, farmers moved to growing rubber instead, Cheng Sochantha, Deputy Director of Mondulkiri administrative office, said.

Before 2009 coffee “barely” had a market and had struggled with pricing, with coffee farmers struggling to survive, said Sok Serey, Chief of Mondulkiri provincial Department of Commerce.

Cambodian coffee exports were about 1.2 tonnes, worth US$13,942 in 2011, the Ministry of Commerce said, but did not have data on exports for 2012.

The data conflicts with Ministry of Commerce data obtained by the Post last year in which the Ministry reported that for the first six months of 2011 coffee exports were worth $226,000.

In 2011 total coffee production in Cambodia last year was 2,377 tonnes, worth $914,134, the Ministry of Commerce said. No data was available for 2012.

Tan Titi, manager at Chay Mao Coffee, said his coffee sold for 22,000 real ($5.50) per kilo in 2011, but increased to 24,000 real ($6.00) in 2012.

The price rise was due to increasing labour and material expenses, he said.

Chay Mao coffee sold 8,400kg of coffee in 2011 and 10,800kg in 2012, and did not export any coffee.

The company now grows coffee on five hectares, and the company will increase that to eight hectares in the near future, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abe Becker at [email protected]

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