The Ministry of Commerce on April 26 “launched” three new geographical indications (GI) and four “collective marks”, at a ceremony representing formal recognition of the seven products’ inclusion into the Cambodian registry as well as the accompanying protections.

The three GIs were “Kampot-Kep Salt”, “Kampot-Kep Fish Sauce” and the “Takeo Crayfish”, and the four collective marks were “Ambok Kampong Thom” (Kampong Thom Rice Flakes), “Doung Khtis Battambang” (Battambang Wax Coconut), “Koh Trong Pomelo” and “Nom Banh Chok Siem Reap” (a local variety of rice noodle).

The registration of the GIs and collective marks along with the government’s affirmation will unlock the export potential of these regional products and provide their associated communities with a range of support mechanisms, stakeholders have said, voicing hope that these goods will find widespread favour among overseas consumers.

Speaking to The Post on April 27, Chan Silsocheat, general manager of E Chei Ngov Heng Food Production of Kampot, the manufacturer and distributor of “Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce”, enthused that the profile of the seven products would receive a substantial boost, as their newly-acquired statuses widen their markets and enable producers to earn more revenue.

GI-tagged fish sauce in Kampot and Kep provinces will become all the more popular, and the quality of the condiment will better align with their associated standards, he said, drawing attention to the booming popularity of “Kampot Pepper” – another GI – among both domestic and international consumers.

“I expect sales of Ngov Heng fish sauce to increase as well, as our products are of good quality – they’re tasty and up to high standards.

“At the same time, export prospects will be bolstered,” he said, asking the commerce ministry and other stakeholders to spread the word of Cambodian products and their quality across the globe.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng commented that the GI and collective mark statuses will accelerate market demand for the seven items, encouraging more investment, production and processing to keep pace, as well as driving up prices for the commodities.

“The tagged goods have tremendous potential to expand on domestic and foreign markets,” he said, calling for products to adhere to their respectively determined guidelines.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout pointed out that the wax coconut is the first collective mark representing the northwestern province. As a result, this peculiar type of coconut will be better known, prices for the fruit will rise, and more of the palm trees will be planted, he said.

This particular wax coconut subspecies native to Battambang is known for its unique sweetness, waxy pulp and viscous juice.

“Before the registration, most people outside of the province were unaware of the ‘Battambang Wax Coconut’,” he said, voicing optimism that other popular products in the province would one day also get the collective-mark treatment, such as oranges, pineapple, rice and “nem” – a well-known delicacy of raw spiced fermented fish.