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GI drives palm sugar exports

GI drives palm sugar exports

CAMBODIA’S palm sugar exporters plan to ramp up exports in 2011 on the back of increased domestic and international demand, after receiving Geographical Indicator status earlier this year.

Sam Saroeun, president of the Cambodian Sugar Association, said Cambodia’s three largest palm sugar exporters plan to increase the amount of sugar purchased in the Kampong Speu area for export.

“This year, the members of our association have sold between 20 and 30 tonnes, but more will be sold in 2011,” he said.

Cambodia contains some 2.5 million sugar producing palm trees, with about 500 people employed in production, according to the association.

The President of Confirel Company, Hay Ly Eang, has said that about one million palm trees are worked, largely by poor Cambodians.

Confirel exported 16 tonnes of palm sugar this year for US$2.50 per kilogram, but plans to export between 30 and 40 tonnes next year.

“Japan alone has ordered 10 tonnes of palm sugar for 2011,” said Confirel general manager Chhorn Ravuth. “This is good news for us.”

The firm claims to have received orders totaling more than 20 tonnes from buyers in Japan, Australia, France and Taiwan for 2011, he said. The firm buys palm sugar from farmers in Kampong Speu for exporting.

Kampong Speu palm sugar was granted geographical indication (GI) status this year, under the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The GI status brands products based on the areas for which they are famous, as in the case of Champagne from France and Cambodia’s Kampot pepper.

The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture plans to purchase 11 tonnes of palm sugar for export next year, up from seven tonnes shipped abroad in 2010, according to enterprise manager Chhim Sokutheary.

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