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New pepper federation set to promote sector

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Kompot farmer checked her black pepper before packing. Heng Chivoan

New pepper federation set to promote sector

The government has formed a new federation for the country’s pepper industry to enhance the market and solve challenges in the sector, as the cash crop is currently facing depressed prices.

The Cambodia Pepper and Spice Federation was jointly formed last Friday by the Ministries of Commerce, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Amru Rice Cambodia CEO Song Saran who has been elected as the federation’s president said it is no different from the Cambodia Rice Federation in that it will work on seeking markets for pepper and be involved in pepper cultivation issues.

“The federation will promote the value of our pepper and look for new markets, especially for non-GI pepper,” he said, adding that farmers will not be relying on informal exports to Thailand and Vietnam.

“We want to have our own markets, build a name for Cambodian pepper, and solve all the challenges in the industry,” he said.

The pepper federation has 17 members from pepper cooperatives across the Kingdom that will raise issues to the federation and work together with the two ministries to resolve them.

Saran said the country grows mainly black pepper, of which 20,000 tonnes on average are produced annually.

He said the pepper price currently stands between $2.50 and $3 per kg, which is not sustainable for farmers.

Kampot Pepper Promotion Association president Ngoun Lay, who is also on the board of the new federation, will be a key player in developing the pepper industry.

“We should focus on how to build trust with customers and maintain the quality of our pepper. Then it will have a market,” he said.

Kim Sour Pepper Farm manager Bean Kheang Chou expressed hope that the federation will promote its pepper products to ensure a stable market.

“We are now struggling with pricing and it is hard to find buyers. If the federation could advertise our pepper in international markets, and improve the price, it would be helpful for farmers,” he said

He said his operation which is located in Pursat province can produce 60 tonnes of pepper annually, but he could only sell to China and Vietnam at the current unprofitable price.

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