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MENA market peppered with potential: CPSF

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The Kingdom exported 22,580.68 tonnes of peppercorn to 19 countries in January-July, up 558.19 per cent year-on-year. Heng Chivoan

MENA market peppered with potential: CPSF

The Cambodian Pepper and Spices Federation (CPSF) has been connecting with 25 local exporters to explore and foster new avenues to delve into the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) markets, a whole world of diverse cuisines that are rich in spices and rely heavily on Piper nigrum peppercorn, according to the minutes of the CPSF’s second quarterly meeting.

CPSF president Mak Ny told The Post on August 12 that an export platform maintained by the federation is online, offering products to – among other destinations – MENA countries, which CPSF have been working with a Know How Export Expertist to support local exporters to increase sale value.

“We will integrate 25 companies that sell Cambodian agricultural products” into the platform, he said. “In addition to peppercorn, our exports focus on organic and natural produce” such as “safe fruits and vegetables”, or those with reduced dependence on chemicals that are free of microbiological hazards.

He said the CPSF is pushing for broader international recognition of cultivars of Cambodian peppercorn that do not have geographical indication (GI) status, and is looking for new markets in less-treaded regions.

These are primary objectives in the federation’s mission to transform the Kingdom into a thriving global producer of peppercorn, he noted.

And brighter prospects are anticipated for the domestic peppercorn export market, as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries logs a prodigious 558.19 per cent year-on-year leap in shipments of the commodity abroad over the January-July period to 22,580.68 tonnes, which includes GI-branded Kampot pepper and all other varieties.

Cambodian peppercorn is exported to 19 countries and territories, with Vietnam the largest buyer at 22,217 tonnes, followed by Germany (244.57 tonnes), France (20.14 tonnes) and Belgium (15.98 tonnes).

In 2010, the World Trade Organisation awarded GI certification to Kampot pepper, which has provided the industry a major shot in the arm.

But CPSF’s Ny noted that the federation would rather concentrate on non-GI cultivars of pepper, at least for the time being.

He posited that the MENA region has a great deal of unfulfilled demand for all-organic and natural products, which is in some measure influenced by higher levels of economic development that exceed that of Cambodia.

“They crave topflight products, and I dare say the market there is ripe for us, and the conditions are, all things considered, more favourable or at least easier than in European countries,” he said.

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