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Czech firm inks major pepper deal

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The prices of Kampot peppercorn have not changed in years – $15 per kg of black pepper, $25 for red and $28 for white. Heng Chivoan

Czech firm inks major pepper deal

A Czech Republic-based private company has signed a contract to buy 35 tonnes of Kampot peppercorn from more than 200 households of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) over a period of 10 years.

KPPA president Nguon Lay told The Post on March 8 that EU Land and Pepper Investment Co Ltd was the eighth company to sign a direct agreement with the families, and has pledged to buy at least 35 tonnes of Kampot peppercorn – which is protected by Geographical Indication (GI) regulation.

The company previously purchased the GI-tagged pepper from the association’s families in 2021, he said, but did not have a direct contract, being one of 30 companies exporting pepper overseas.

Lay noted that at present, the Ukraine conflict has not affected the export of Kampot pepper. Nonetheless, the contract with the Czech-registered company includes force majeure, stating that the company will reduce purchases from farmers if the fighting were to impact the European market.

“This year, EU Land and Pepper Investment Co Ltd has signed a contract with 200 households to purchase 35 tonnes or more. As long as the farmers can produce it, then they will buy it all,” said Lay.

He added that the company has been encouraging the families to grow organic pepper specifically.

Tep Yoeun, one of the farmers involved in the latest deal, told The Post that, after signing the contract with the Czech-based company, he and other farmers are now planning to increase their cultivation of pepper.

He added that the company has “given a lot of confidence” to farmers, citing its promise to buy all three types of peppercorn that they are growing – and as much of it as they can produce.

Yoeun said: “As farmers, we are very happy growing pepper. It is marketed and sold at high prices, too – the company bought it from us at the price of a kilogramme of black pepper at $15, red pepper at $25, and white pepper at $28, which has made us a lot of money.”

According to Lay, these three rates have been the standard for many years.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that Cambodia exported about 28,100 tonnes of peppercorn – both Kampot GI and non-GI varieties – last year, increasing by 452 per cent over 2020.

Of that, 27,120 tonnes were exported to Vietnam, while the remainder went to Germany, Thailand, France, India, Belgium, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and other markets.

In Cambodia, pepper is cultivated in 18 provinces, with Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Tbong Khmum and Kampot recognised as prominent growers.

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