India is eyeing imports of peppercorn from Cambodia without geographical indication (GI) status, which could provide a gateway for access to the major South Asian market.
The declaration of intent was made during a meeting between representatives of the Cambodia Pepper and Spices Federation (CPSF) and Indian ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Uttam Khobragade on March 9.
CPSF president Mak Ny told The Post on March 15 that the talks focused on opening up the pepper market in India, adding that the South Asian country is also interested in Cambodian turmeric.
Under the coordination of the Indian embassy in Phnom Penh, the two sides will hold additional discussions in the near future to hash out quotas on quantities and other requirements, he said.
“We have not discussed things in detail yet. They [the embassy] will arrange a meeting between potential buyers and production teams to have a concerted dialogue until a deal is reached,” Ny said.
The embassy said in a statement that as a first step, it would hold a meeting between the Spices Board of India and CPSF to explore the possibility of exports of Cambodian spices to India and the required phytosanitary measures.
Indian and Cambodian companies would then attend a business-to-business meeting, it said.
“The embassy is clear about the quality of pepper and turmeric produced in Cambodia, expecting a win-win situation for companies of the two countries, which will lead to an increase in bilateral trade,” the statement said.
According to Ny, the price of non-GI pepper had jumped from 8,000 riel ($2) at the beginning of last year to 15,000 riel on March 15.
Cambodia exported 8.55 million tonnes of six major cash crops, through formal and informal channels, worth more than $2.32 billion last year as of December 15, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Sakhon.
In a December 24 post on his official Facebook page, the minister listed the crops as cassava, cashew nuts, fresh mangoes, fresh yellow bananas, peppercorn and Pailin longan.