Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fake production souring Kingdom’s palm sugar sector

Fake production souring Kingdom’s palm sugar sector

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
GI palm sugar currently sells for 6,000 riel ($1.48) per kilogramme, Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association (KSPSPA) president Sam Saroeun said. Hong Menea

Fake production souring Kingdom’s palm sugar sector

Representatives and exporters in the geographical indication (GI) palm sugar industry have raised concerns that recent cases of fake sugar seized in raids are negatively affecting the reputation of the product and its export market.

Authorities recently shut down fake palm sugar production sites in Takeo province’s Bati district.

Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association (KSPSPA) president Sam Saroeun said such crackdowns would protect Cambodia’s GI palm products, but a harmed reputation could be detrimental to sales in both the local and global markets in which they are popular.

“Fake production will damage the name of our palm sugar here in Kampong Speu province. From now on, before people buy palm sugar, they must be aware of its source and avoid buying fake palm sugar.

“I support the authorities’ recent crackdowns on fake sugar palm production sites,” he said.

The KSPSPA has 168 members, which expect to have produced 250 tonnes of palm sugar this year, he said. GI palm sugar currently sells for 6,000 riel ($1.48) per kilogramme.

“The GI palm sugar community is planning to raise the price of palm sugar by 100 riel per kilogramme next year,” he said.

Kampong Speu palm sugar was registered as an EU-protected product in April. It was the second Cambodian product to receive GI certification after Kampot pepper was registered in February 2016.

GI palm sugar exporter Confirel Co Ltd deputy managing director Hym Piseth told The Post on Monday that his company was also concerned about the production of fake sugar.

“The concern is that it could affect our export market,” he said.

His said his company spent three years explaining to European buyers the common misconception that palm sugar was made from coconut oil, which led to the firm later rebranding its product “Thnot Sugar”. Thnot is Khmer for the palmyra palm from which the company’s sugar is made.

“I am very worried because the company has spent years building the reputation of palm sugar products to sell on the European market. Buyers could mistakenly think palm sugar was made from coconut oil.”

Palm sugar is sometimes confused with the similar coconut sugar; however, it is made from a different kind of palm tree.

Confirel ordered more than 100 tonnes of GI palm sugar during the 2018 harvest season. It shipped 83 tonnes in the first 11 months of this year to Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China, among others, Piseth said.

“Our exports have not reached the company’s target . . . it seeks to export 150 tonnes per year,” he said.

Currently, there are 10 palm sugar exporters shipping the product to 20 countries. The main destinations are Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the EU, KSPSPA data shows.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,