Kampot pepper, Kampong Speu palm sugar to receive geographical indication status
A vendor displays Kampot pepper for sale in Phnom Penh. The product, along with Kampong Speu palm sugar, is to be among the first Cambodian-made products to receive geographical indication status.
KAMPOT pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar will receive geographical indication (GI) protection soon, according to Ministry of Commerce officials.
"The registration process will not be delayed any more," said Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce.
Geographical indication status would guarantee that the products come from specific regions, meaning that if something is listed as Kammust have been grown in Kampot province, whereas other similar products would not legally be able to use the name.
Sok Sarang, head of the Mission GI Project of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), said the listing of these two products will likely happen in July or August, and that all the relevant documents are ready for Ministry of Commerce approval.
We can prevent our brand names from being used
Mao Thora said that the listing of GI products by the Ministry of Commerce will help protect Cambodian products on the international market and increase overseas consumer knowledge of them.
But, he said, Ministry of Commerce approval is just the first step, and European Union recognition will follow.
"We will have our products listed in the EU in the future so that the world knows our products, and we can prevent our brand names from being used fraudulently," he said.
The listing of Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar has taken about two years to complete, but three other Cambodian products - Kampot durian, Siem Reap prahok (fish paste) and Mondulkiri honey have been targeted for the next stage of GI protection.
NGO officials say that the next set of products could receive GI protection more quickly than either Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar, because the groundwork has already been laid.
Jean Marie Brun, GI project manager from the Group For Research and Technology Exchange, said that the Kampot durian project is under way, and that the UN Development Programme has pledged to help get Siem Reap prahok GI protection.
Though little work has been done with Mondulkiri honey so far, Brun said that it will be less complicated because producers are already working with an NGO that will make documentation relatively straightforward.