An employee sits among cooling palm sugar at a warehouse in Kampong Speu province in 2011. Hector Bermejo
Cheng Sokhorng, The Phnom Penh Post Publication date 24 November 2017 | 00:00 ICT
Cambodian-based specialty food producer Confirel won first prize for its Thnot Organic Sugar at the 15th Asean Food Conference in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.
Thnot sugar had won first prize once before, in a 2005 European competition, but this marks the first time it has won in Asean and for its nutritional qualities, according to Hay Ly Eang, CEO of Confirel.
Confirel works with the Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association (KSPSPA) and its member families to process palm-based goods including sugar, wine, vinegar and juice. Annually, Confirel receives approximately 150 tonnes of organic palm sugar from this partnership.
According to Eang, the first place prize has revived the positive reputation of Cambodian palm sugar and could result in a strengthening of the entire market.
“This award will strengthen our reputation in the international market,” he said. “Local farmers should be proud.”
KSPSPA President Sam Saroeun said that since Kampong Speu palm sugar obtained geographical indicator status in 2010, becoming internationally recognised as a quality product, its recognition has spread and improved the incomes of farmers. This award, he said, would also have a positive impact.
The association’s capacity of production this year was approximately 250 to 270 tonnes, and farmers earn about 5,000 riel per kilogram sold. Plans for expansion of production and cultivation are in place, said Saroeun.
However, he remains afraid of counterfeit palm sugar products flooding the market. “We are always concerned about protecting palm sugar’s reputation in the market,” he said. “I hope the government will take action to help us.”
Practices of loving-kindness and compassion are indispensable elements of all religious traditions. These are qualities everyone can practice, regardless of their religious affiliation or ancestry. In fact, training to develop loving-kindness and compassion provides a bridge between all religions and all the many parts of our global society.
I am a Buddhist, but I still have to live my life as a member of the larger world community and take full part in society, where Buddhism is not the only spiritual tradition. There are many different forms of religion and spirituality, and there are also many different types of people, including those who are inclined toward religious or spiritual approaches and those who are not.
Since our world community is so very vast and diverse, it is important for us to respect the entire range of religious and spiritual traditions, not setting ourselves up as “opponents” of any other tradition. The way to accomplish happiness in the world is to do meaningful work in one’s own life, with a positive motivation that sees all people and all traditions as equal.
When we think of containers, we often overlook the ways in which the contents can affect the container itself — warming or cooling it, staining or bleaching it, stretching or strengthening it and even breaking it. The word used in Tibetan for “contents’ in this analogy also literally means “nutrients”, such that we ourselves are like the nourishment for the world that contains us. Indeed, as I have mentioned, the carbon dioxide we exhale nourishes the trees and plants, and our bodies also return to the earth and nourish it after we have died. The natural environment, in turn, nourishes us and provides us with the conditions we need for life. What this signals is that the connections of interdependence between us and the world we live in are far closer and more reciprocal than we normally envision. ~ 17th Karmapa