The Association of Geographical Indication Kampot-Kep Salt Producers anticipates a rise in international orders for its geographical indication (GI) salt this year, as it actively seeks new markets and expects an increase in production.

Bun Narin, president of the association, said on February 12 that favourable weather conditions have resulted in nearly 10,000 tonnes of salt being produced in the first six weeks of the year. 

He highlighted that the figure surpasses the production levels of the same period last year. 

“I think that this year, we will be able to produce between 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes of salt. Due to favourable weather, we have been producing since late 2023. We have already harvested an estimated 10,000 tonnes and expect to continue until the end of April,” he explained.

Narin said that thus far, salt has primarily been exported alongside pepper and the volume of salt-only exports has been modest.

He noted that in November 2023, the country exported over 17 tonnes of salt to the European market in a single container. He said there have been three instances of salt-only exports, although in small quantities. 

“We are considering boosting our exports this year, hoping to [sell] more. Foreign countries, especially in Europe and Asia, have shown interest due to our salt earning the GI certification,” he said.

“Recently, a South Korean company visited to inspect our production, expressing interest in importing our salt for Kimchi production. We are also in discussions with Chinese markets and others in Asia,” he added.

Heng Sokkung, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, highlighted some challenges in current production, such as unclear documentation for salt marshes, development partner issues and a labour shortage. 

“As the salt is traditionally made, it often fails to meet proper standards. The ministry and related parties are addressing these issues, as salt is a staple of Cambodia. I believe that Cambodian salt will have better opportunities in the European market in the future,” he said.

He also noted the difficulties in salt-making techniques and quality inspections, underscoring the need for training and the establishment of proper experimentation facilities to compete in international markets.

According to ministry data, the Kingdom produced over 79,000 tonnes of salt in 2023, with more than 17,000 tonnes remaining after domestic consumption.