After obtaining Geographical Indication (GI) status in June, demand for the pomelo grown in Kratie’s Koh Trong commune has spiked, with producers planning an expansion to meet it.
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The Koh Trong pomelo is only the third Cambodia product to be given the distinction, following Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu’s palm sugar.
Chan Rina, president of the Koh Trong Pomelo Producer Association, said after GI status was awarded to their pomelo they have been unable to produce enough to satisfy rising demand from locals.
“Before, people did not know about our pomelo, but now it is recognised and well-known and we are struggling to meet demand.
“Our producers have plans to expand their plantations. They are now studying new plots of land to make sure they meet the requirements for growing the pomelo,” Ms Rina said.
She describes Koh Trong pomelo as “sweet and soft” and explains that they grow it following organic techniques.
When asked if she is contemplating exporting, she said that, with the GI status conferred for a period of only six months, there is not enough time to complete all the preparations to ship the product overseas.
“Before exporting we need to create proper packaging and build our network of buyers overseas,” Ms Rina said.
Koh Trong pomelo plantations now cover 35 hectares. One single pomelo fetches around $3.5, Ms Rina said.
There are 331 families in Koh Trong commune growing pomelos, and 13,790 pomelo trees. However, only 155 families are members of the Koh Trong Pomelo Producer Association.
Bun Ban, director of Koh Trong Eco-Tourism Community and vice president of the Koh Trong Pomelo Producer Association, said Koh Trong commune, known for its ecotourism sites and white-sand beaches, produces a sweeter pomelo.
“The GI status for the pomelo helps promote Kratie as a tourist destination and boost living standards in Koh Trong. The Koh Trong pomelo is famous now because it is sweet rather than sour and it has no seeds when it grows enough to harvest,” Mr Ban said.
The pomelo is a citrus fruit, similar in appearance to a large grapefruit, native to South and Southeast Asia.