Oranges from Battambang and Pursat may become the next product to be awarded geographical indication (GI) status in Cambodia, with the Minister of Commerce now considering whether they deserve the label.
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Speaking to Khmer Times yesterday, Op Rady, director of the department of intellectual property, said field visits and seminars have been carried out in the provinces to collect information from producers.
“Work on collecting information from farmers and provincial agriculture departments has already been completed and that information has been sent to the minister, who will determine whether or not the fruit deserves the GI label,” he said.
“Once the minister gives his approval, we will begin looking for partners to help the product earn GI certification.”
Once that partner is found, a feasibility study will be carried out. “The process of applying for the label takes two years and costs approximately half a million dollars,” he noted.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), who helped the ministry apply for GI status for Kratie’s Koh Trong pomelo last year, could be a potential partner.
Sok Sarang, country representative for Ecocert, an organic certification organisation, said WIPO will likely support the ministry’s effort to obtain GI status for the fruit.
“Due to their reputation and to the backing of the Ministry of Commerce, the oranges grown in Pursat and Battambang are strong candidates to obtain the designation,” he said, adding that there are a few other Cambodian products that could obtain the certification.
Channa Theap, an orange farmer in Battambang province, said the GI label will help protect the oranges’ reputation, currently at risk due to the presence of oranges from other areas falsely promoted as hailing from Battambang.
Ms Theap, whose orange trees occupy about 3,200 square metres, said a crate of 40 oranges now fetches $5 to $7. Her oranges are sold in the domestic market, she added.