The Cambodia Pepper and Spices Federation (CPSF) and Khmer Organic Cooperative Co Ltd (KOC) have officially launched the 2023 Export Development Programme (EDP), aiming to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s agricultural products in international markets.

The initiative, unveiled on December 18, is designed to equip federation members and their partners with knowledge and skills through a range of selected activities, including export debut and financing programmes, according to a press release. 

CPSF president Mak Ny emphasised the benefits for relevant parties during the event, saying they will acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and communication strategies to advance their export plans for potential products to global markets. 

“Our common goal is to increase the competitiveness of Cambodian agricultural products, specifically organic products in export markets,” he said.

Ny also highlighted that the initiative will feature a variety of activities, such as key stakeholder engagement, presentations, panel discussions and sharing of lessons learned and success stories from Cambodian exporters.

Kem Meassokseiha, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, expressed the body’s expectation that the programme will not only promote pepper and spice products but also facilitate the export of other potential products to overseas markets. 

“The forum is important not only for launching the EDP but also for strengthening solidarity and building a network of interested parties within the agricultural value chain to enhance exports,” he said.

The EDP and Organic Certification events are being implemented by the CPSF and KOC, with funding support from various organisations including the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III (Harvest III), the EU, Rural Employment for Covid-19 Economic Recovery (RECOVER), DanChurchAid (DCA) and Zurich-based aid organisation HEKS/EPER.

According to the press release, CPSF represents the interests of the Cambodian pepper and spice sector, striving to ensure the availability of high-quality and safe products in both local and global markets since 2018. 

With assistance from Harvest III, the federation is intensifying its export efforts towards sustainable development, trade facilitation, market development and supporting Cambodian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their competitiveness and expand their market share internationally.

Harvest III is a five-year initiative aimed at fostering sustainable, inclusive economic growth in the country’s agricultural sector through increased diversification, resilience and competitiveness, as per the press release. 

According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Kingdom exported 5,805 tonnes of pepper to foreign markets from January to November 2023. The figure represents a 30 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year. 

The current price of pepper ranges from $3,000 to $3,500 per tonne, as reported by the CPSF.