About 120 tonnes of Kampot pepper, which received geographical indication (GI) certification from the European Union in 2019, was harvested last year but less than half of the yield was sold in the traditional way through the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association.
Nguon Lay, president of the association, yesterday blamed poor market conditions for the slowdown.
He said by the end of December last year the association had sold about 50 tonnes, down from 68 tonnes in 2018.
“The pepper yield has increased and the quality is good,” said Nguon.
Of the sold pepper, 30 percent went to local markets, mostly for tourist shops, and 70 percent was exported.
“The sales of pepper at souvenir shops locally showed a decrease in sales. Before they could sell about 7 to 8 tonnes but just only 1 to 2 tons were sold,” said Nguon.
The Kampot Pepper Promotion Association has 455 members made up of farmers and companies with pepper plantations.
The plantations cover 290 hectares of land in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district.
The main markets for Kampot GI pepper are the EU, the US, Japan, China and South Korea.
Hay Ly Eang, chairman of Confirel, one of the pepper exporters, called for the quality of the pepper to be strengthened to maintain demand abroad.
The association sells the black pepper at $15,000 per tonne, while the red pepper and white pepper fetch $25,000 and $28,000 a tonne respectively.
Leftover pepper products are kept by farmers who can sell them personally to local markets, but the price is not as good as the association, with strenth in numbers, can demand, Nguon said.
The Kampot pepper received GI certification from the EU in 2016. A geographical indication is a valuable name or sign used on products that corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region or country).
The use of a geographical indication acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation because of its geographical origin.