Cambodia exported 8.55 million tonnes of its six most profitable agro-industrial crops, through formal and informal channels, worth more than $2.32 billion this year as of December 15, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.
In a December 24 post on his official Facebook page, the minister listed the crops as cassava, cashew nuts, mangoes, yellow bananas, peppercorn and Pailin longan.
During the period, Cambodia exported 7,075,494 tonnes of cassava products (worth $1,026,232,000), 218,884.29 tonnes of cashew nuts ($288,111,700), 945,274.44 tonnes of fresh mangoes ($473,207,700) and 313,410.94 tonnes of fresh yellow bananas ($451,125,700).
The Kingdom also shipped out 174.52 tonnes of Pailin longan (worth $57,763,100) and 5,005.65 tonnes of peppercorn ($25,490,200).
Kampot Pepper Promotion Association president Nguon Lay said Kampot pepper, with its geographical indication (GI) recognition, and the Kingdom’s other agro-industrial products have potential on the international market.
The Ministry of Commerce granted domestic GI status to the commodity in 2010 under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
On February 18, 2016, the European Commission (EC) registered “Mrech Kampot” /”Poivre de Kampot” (Kampot pepper) as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), making it the first Cambodian product to receive the status from the EU.
Any product sold in the EU countries purporting to be Kampot pepper must “carry the PGI quality logo from now on” which certifies that it originates from the Kingdom’s main pepper-producing region – Kampot and Kep provinces, according to the EC.
Lay said at least four companies have signed purchase agreements with small-scale Kampot pepper farmers for next year, with Czech-owned EU Land and Pepper Investment Co Ltd recently penning a contract for 10 tonnes of peppercorn.
He said: “Pepper exports are expected to remain at around 70 tonnes by 2021 as the pepper market appears to have recovered slightly after being hit by Covid-19 nearly a year ago.”
Minister Sakhon told The Post in October that the government is aiming for a three per cent annual growth rate of agricultural value added – the net output of the agricultural sector after adding up all outputs and subtracting the value of intermediate inputs.
He said the government also aspires to increase agricultural labour productivity – the annual output per agricultural worker – from $1,839 last year to $4,625 by 2030.
“The agricultural sector is an important engine of economic growth and could enjoy a one per cent surge this year,” he said. “Agriculture remains crucial considering the downswing experienced by industry and services. Today, only agriculture could feasibly revive the economy.”
Cambodia exported $14.1 billion worth of goods in the first nine months of this year, up 20.07 per cent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The Kingdom imported $13.6 billion worth of goods in the first nine months of this year, dipping 8.70 per cent year-on-year.