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Local coffee sector gets a jolt

Cafe Mondulkiri staff set up a booth at the Cambodian Franchise & Licensing exhibition yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich centre.
Cafe Mondulkiri staff set up a booth at the Cambodian Franchise & Licensing exhibition yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich centre. Heng Chivoan

Local coffee sector gets a jolt

Several international and local coffee industry representatives gathered yesterday for the start of a three-day event promoting partnerships and franchising opportunities to satisfy Cambodia’s growing coffee cravings.

The exhibition, which will last until May 6, aims to provide a business to business platform to explore growth opportunities in Cambodia’s rapidly growing retail coffee industry. Overall, 45 company representatives, including equipment suppliers, franchisers and coffee producers, from 18 different countries came together for the event.

“This was the right time to organise a coffee show because coffee shops are growing quite well in Cambodia,” said Edward Lui, managing director of Conference and Exhibition Management services, which set up the exhibition.

The event includes displays of coffee and roasting equipment as well as coffee beans, tea and other beverage products, according to Lui. He added that Cambodia should work to implement a franchise law to guarantee legal brand protection and encourage more franchising, including for coffee chains.

Cambodia already produces coffee across several provinces, including Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, and Pailin, according to Minister of Industry Cham Prasith. He added that local coffee products have gained popularity in both the domestic and international markets.

“We have a natural and high-quality coffee bean production in Cambodia, so now we only need high-quality coffee machines to produce tasty coffee,” he said yesterday. “We need to learn from the experiences of the exhibition about how to compete in terms of quality and service so that we can succeed in the industry.”

Prasith explained that the Kingdom is still working to draft a franchise protection law, which should be completed by the end of the year. He also encouraged local entrepreneurs to create their own Cambodian coffee brands.

“Royalty and franchising fees are high [for the local market] so it is hard to bring some franchises to Cambodia because it is not always easy to be profitable,” he said.

“It is better for Cambodians to create their own brands, like creating mobile coffee carts, which will bring more profits and can become their own franchises in the future.”

Sovann Nakry, managing director of local brand Eysan Coffee, said the coffee industry was currently growing rapidly and her company was looking to create its own franchise to benefit from the growth.

“The coffee business is growing well and we produce our own coffee to supply local coffee shops,” she said. “We are now trying to build up our reputation in the market so that we can start exporting abroad.”

Nakry said the brand was importing coffee products from Vietnam and Laos while selling locally produced Mondulkiri coffee beans. The company also imports and distributes Italian made coffee machines in Cambodia.

“Right now it is a challenge to get people to buy some of our products because consumers do not understand the value of quality coffee yet,” she said. “I believe that soon, Cambodian coffee drinkers will start to appreciate high quality and more expensive coffee.”

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