The yield for Kampot pepper – the Kingdom’s only product with an official geographic indication (GI) – is expected to decline by nearly 30 percent this year due to climate factors, Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Ngoun Lay said.
However, he said export supplies to international markets would remain steady.
Lay said the shortage was due to overly dry weather at the beginning of the year when the peppercorns were growing, and excessive rains during the months when the drying process was underway.
He estimated that production will be around 75 tonnes by the end of the month, which constituted a 26 percent decline.
Kampot pepper’s GI area currently stands at 250 hectares in Kampot and Kep provinces. Within that area, 110 hectares have mature pepper plants that can be harvested.
The KPPA’s membership swelled from 387 farmers and 21 distributors last year to 440 farmers and 29 distributors this year, Lay said. Last year, the group successfully harvested 102 tonnes of pepper.
“Even though our production is lower than last year, we are still able to supply to our buyers as we still have some peppercorn reserved from last year,” he said.
So far this year, the association has sold 40 tonnes and expects to sell another 30 before the year’s end.
Lay said the group has kept prices steady at $15 per kg for black pepper, $25 for red pepper and $28 for white pepper.
Sok Huy, a farmer and member of the KPPA who has 10 hectares of pepper plants, said his production would be down 30 percent compared to last year.
“Normally I finish harvesting at the end of June, but this year, it will be a late harvest because of the rain.
“I haven’t started harvesting yet. I am really worried there will be no sun to dry it and I will lose a lot,” he said.