Pepper exports more than doubled last year despite Kampot pepper exports having dropped more than 27 per cent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
Total pepper exports reached 3,693.25 tonnes last year – up 53.17 per cent from 2,411.20 tonnes over the same period in 2018, the ministry’s data showed.
Meanwhile, Kampot pepper exports fell from 69 to 50 tonnes over the same period, the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) said.
KPPA president Nguon Lay said farmers harvested 125 tonnes of Kampot pepper last year but were only able to export less than half of that due to “the lack of new export markets”.
“About 70 per cent of total production was exported and 30 per cent was sold domestically. The largest export markets are Europe, the US, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“We just found a new partner to export pepper to Russia, which is anticipated to be a new market for our Geographical Indication [GI] Kampot peppers,” he said.
Kampot pepper was granted GI recognition by the World Trade Organisation in 2010. Currently, the GI area covers 250ha in Kampot and Kep provinces. Like champagne or the Sichuan peppercorn, it must be grown in a pre-defined area to retain its GI status.
Confirel Co Ltd deputy managing director Him Piseth told The Post on Monday that last year, his company exported around 14 tonnes of the spice, falling short of its 20-tonne target.
“We [Confirel] didn’t meet the export target last year because demand and orders fell. We may continue to see [fewer exports] because of poor demand in the global pepper market.”
KPPA membership has grown from 387 families in 2017 to 440 this year. Meanwhile, the number of distributors had increased from 21 to 35 companies.
Despite falling short of targets, Kampot pepper prices remain stable, with black pepper being sold at $15 a kg, red pepper ($25/kg) and white pepper ($28/kg).
Harvests yielded from the plantations are exported to Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK, Saudi Arabia, India, Taiwan, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Hong Kong, the US and Bulgaria.