The pepper industry plans to export 5,000 tonnes of Geographical Indication (GI) and non-GI peppercorn this year to meet the growing market demand in the region and the EU.

Cambodia Pepper and Spice Federation (CPSF) president Mak Ny told The Post on April 29 that CPSF member companies are targeting Vietnam and Germany as the main export destinations.

According to Ny, Vietnam-based Olam plans to export 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of peppercorns to Vietnam and Germany-based Fuchs aims to ship out 1,000 tonnes.

In addition, local companies Seila Pepper Co Ltd and Signatures of Asia Co Ltd plan to export about 100 tonnes each, he said.

In 2020, CPSF members exported more than 3,000 tonnes of GI and non-GI pepper, according to Ny.

"The companies that form part of our ranks plan to export a lot this year due to falling global pepper yields, so every member is rushing to buy up stock, expecting a strong market from now on," the CPSF president said.

Signatures of Asia general manager Chan Pich told The Post that his company plans to buy 100 tonnes of organic pepper from Mondulkiri province to process and export to Finland.

"This year, we bought more pepper than last year, having bought only 40 tonnes last year. And we've seen that this year's pepper market has improved a bit compared to last year," he said.

According to Ny, the price of non-GI pepper has jumped by 20 to 30 per cent over to last year, costing around 14,000 riel ($3.50) per kilogramme, compared to 10,000 riel a year ago. Cambodia produces about 20,000 tonnes of pepper a year, he said.

"Our goal is to bring the pepper sector together, which will make it easier for foreign investors to see the potential of our pepper products and make it easy to provide information on the pepper market," he added.

The federation has 15 member pepper producer communities that grow crops on about 700ha and produce 1,200-1,500 tonnes of peppercorns per year.

In 2020, 70 tonnes of GI Kampot peppercorns were exported to more than 50 countries, mostly in Europe, with black pepper worth $15 per kilogramme, red pepper $25 and white pepper $28, according to Kampot Pepper Promotion Association president Nguon Lay.

Pepper cultivation in Cambodia covers 6,700ha and yields more than 20,000 tonnes each year.