Growers and suppliers of cashew nuts and geographical indication- (GI) certified Kampot pepper will soon have a chance to sell their products to Chinese consumers through the e-commerce platform Alibaba.com, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Entrepreneurship Development Fund (EDF) on August 3.
EDF Secretariat director Chea Kokhong on August 3 chaired an online meeting with Alibaba.com representatives to discuss the different elements of the e-commerce ecosystem, and availing Cambodian wares on the platform, especially for the Chinese market.
He said the meeting also covered logistics, customs procedures and how to smooth the clearance process, previous experiences on working with the government to facilitate exports, and leverage local NGO Cambodian Entrepreneur Development’s (CED) expertise to digitally market select products for a Chinese audience and find strategic partners.
The meeting settled on cashew nuts and GI-branded pepper for market testing, Kokhong said.
EDF project coordinator Bun Phalla told The Post on August 4 that the Alibaba team was specifically looking for products representative of Cambodia.
The two cash crops chosen have logged remarkable export figures, further motivating the meeting’s decision, he said.
If the products can garner enough consumer attention, cultivation and processing would get a big boost back home, he stressed, adding a nod to pepper farmers in Kampot province.
“Alibaba is very committed to helping us be able to sell,” Phalla said, suggesting that the move was at least in part due to Covid-driven supply chain disruptions across China, and the assessment that “Khmers have a lot of potential, especially in agricultural goods”.
In Lai Huot, owner of the Chey Sambor cashew nut processing plant in southwestern Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district, said market testing on the platform would shore up Cambodian cashew nuts and elevate their prestige in the international arena.
“This is splendid news – an undertaking that helps secure a market for finished cashew nuts,” she said, voicing hope that her products would be selected for the trial.
Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Nguon Lay also welcomed the move. “We are delighted, and are engaged in this pursuit to find a market for Kampot pepper,” he said.