Prized spice has its fans, and imitators

A farmer holds fresh pepper corns after they were harvested from a plantation in Ratanakkiri province. Pha Lina

Cheng Sokhorng, The Phnom Penh Post
Wed, 2 November 2016

Given the wild success of Kampot pepper, which can fetch up to three times the amount per kilo as Cambodian pepper produced without its prized label, it is hardly surprising that the product has its share of imitators.

In an effort to address the risk of knockoffs, which damage the reputation and marketing of the authentic product, the Ministry of Commerce and George Edgar, the European Union’s ambassador to Cambodia, held a joint seminar yesterday to explain to pepper producers the importance of respecting the Cambodian pepper’s Geographical Indicator (GI) status.

Kampot pepper was awarded GI status in 2010, and in February 2016 became the first Cambodian product recognised by the EU as carrying the designation. The GI label identifies and certifies the distinct geographical origin and associated qualities of a product, such as Champagne or Parmesan cheese.

Nguon Lay, president of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association, said that despite its GI designation, Kampot pepper producers still struggle against a raft of inferior imitation products primarily geared toward the steady flow of passing tourists.

Pepper producers need to “raise public awareness of GI in order to strengthen the regulations and add value to the product”, he said. Lay added that it was up to individual producers to respect this privileged and protected status. (more…)

Posted on: November 1, 2016 9:15 pm

Farmers have date with destiny

A farmer harvests dates from a date palm tree in 2013. Said Khatib/AFP

Hor Kimsay, The Phnom Penh Post
Tue, 25 October 2016

A Thai agricultural company will work with a local firm to introduce commercial date palm cultivation to the Kingdom, which it claims can generate more profits for farmers than pepper and other cash crops, and for which it has already lined up buyers.

Chiang Mai-based Daily Green Co Ltd inked a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s Kheng Lay Co Ltd yesterday that outlines a partnership plan to educate Cambodian farmers on the commercial benefits of date palm cultivation, and supply seeds, saplings and technical support to farmers who choose to grow the cash crop.

Kheng Chantha, owner of Kheng Lay, said he has successfully grown date palms on a 10-hectare experimental farm in Kandal province, and the fruit-bearing variety of palm grows well in Cambodia and could provide a supplementary source of income for rural families.

He said the partnership agreement will see Daily Green responsible for supplying seeds and saplings to Kheng Lay, which will distribute them to local farmers and support their date production with technical advice and help in securing supplier contracts. The two companies will look to enlist local farmers to grow date palms on 50,000 hectares in the coming five years.

“We are investigating how many farmers in Cambodia want to be involved with us and grow date palms on their land,” said Chantha. “Date palms can be more competitive and provide more benefits to farmers than growing other crops, such as pepper.”

Date palms begin to bear fruit about three years after planting and can live for decades, he said. The nutritious, sweet fruit can be eaten fresh or dried, or processed into many food or beverage products, such as ice cream. (more…)

Posted on: October 24, 2016 9:01 pm