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Kampot pepper growers quit

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Kampot pepper is mainly cultivated in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district and Kep province. Photo supplied

Kampot pepper growers quit

The Kampot pepper market remains grappled with a supply glut and dwindling demand, forcing more growers to call it quits, Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Nguon Lay told The Post on Wednesday.

He said 68 out of the association’s 447 households have abandoned the crop, accounting for 40 per cent or 290ha of the Kingdom’s total cultivated area.

Kampot pepper is mainly cultivated in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district and Kep province. In 2010, the World Trade Organisation awarded Geographical Indication (GI) certification to the commodity, which helped the industry grow further.

Lay said some of the households cited “dying pepper vines due to lack of maintenance techniques” as their reason for leaving the KPPA.

He downplayed the effect that the lower membership would have on the supply of Kampot pepper products to the international markets, noting that production exceeds the 70-tonne annual global demand by “more than 100 tonnes”.

“We are trying to find more new markets in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” Lay said, adding that the European and US markets remain the leading destinations for the crop.

He expressed his optimism that Kampot pepper would have a strong market again from next year, adding that KPPA member EU Land and Pepper Investment Co Ltd has vowed to increase orders.

Earlier this week, the company ordered two tonnes for export to the Czech Republic and promised to help secure more markets for the crop, he added.

“Many tonnes of pepper have been ordered for 2021, and we hope that the pepper market will expand again,” Lay said.

Cambodia exported more than 4,121 tonnes of finished pepper products in the first nine months of this year, up more than 21 per cent year-on-year from 3,404 tonnes, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.

He told The Post on October 5 that the Kingdom’s exports of GI and non-GI pepper during this period went to many markets including Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Vietnam, the US, Russia, Britain, India, Belarus, Korea, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, Sweden, Singapore and Australia.

“Our pepper has been strong in the international markets in recent years,” he said.

According to Lay, around 50 tonnes of the commodity had been sold as of October 31, leaving about 100 tonnes in stock.

Lay said the Kingdom exported 78 tonnes of Kampot pepper out of the 120 tonnes harvested last year.

The prices currently stand at $15 per kg for black pepper, $25 per kg for red pepper and $28 per kg for white pepper, he said. These are the same figures he gave in April.

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