Cambodia exported 5,558.58 tonnes of peppercorn in the first five months of this year, decreasing by more than 25.5 per cent over the same period of 2021, according to agriculture ministry data.

Vietnam was the top destination market for the period, at 5,131.51 tonnes or 92.32 per cent, followed by Germany (355.78 tonnes), Taiwan (21 tonnes), Malaysia (13.64 tonnes), France (10.51 tonnes), Belgium (8.80 tonnes), and the Czech Republic (7.88 tonnes).

Next on the list were Japan (2.47 tonnes), Sweden (2.36 tonnes), Canada (1.28 tonnes), the US (0.92 tonnes), India (0.92 tonnes), the UK (0.90 tonnes), Kazakhstan (0.29 tonnes), South Korea (0.22 tonnes) and Australia (0.10 tonnes).

The ministry cited neighbouring countries’ heightened Covid-19-induced entry restrictions and stricter goods inspections as a likely cause of the dip in exports.

Each year, the pepper fruit is typically harvested exclusively by hand between January and May, generally until the southwest monsoon brings the rainy season from mid-May.

Nonetheless, Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Nguon Lay affirmed to The Post that the peppercorn harvest was still underway in some areas, as the rainy season’s showers start to pelt the Kingdom.

He commented that the yields and prices of Kampot pepper – the most highly-prized cultivar, grown in the namesake coastal province – were on par with last year, as were orders placed by traders. He also noted that this year’s crop suffered little damage from weather effects.

So far, eight out of the more than 30 companies in the KPPA’s ranks have penned contracts within the association to export the hotly sought-after Kampot pepper, he added.