Sweet Success for Local Palm Sugar
Exports of organic palm sugar from Kampong Speu province have reached 135 tons, while the palm sugar industry’s association plans to expand its production chain to help meet demand.
Cambodian Sugar Association president Sam Saroeun said exports of palm sugar have increased year-on-year due to the international standard of productivity and recognition – in both hygiene and quality.
“In fact, this year the association expected to produce 250 to 260 tons of palm sugar from 180 tons last year, while we can say in the first months of 2016 we exported 135 tons, compared to 153 tons last year as a whole,” Mr. Saroeun said.
“So I hope that palm sugar exports will increase if compared with last year because now there are only six more months of exports.”
However, he could not comment on the prices of palm sugar exports because each company exporting the product did its own deals.
Local communities have expanded production of palm sugar from five to seven communes and Kampong Speu province’s palm sugar output increased because of increased domestic demand and exports, he said.
“We aimed to expand the production chain and our membership gradually and not rush in case we fail,” Mr. Saroeun said.
There are now 260 families who are the members of the association, but only 178 families are permanent members, he added.
“In the first six months almost every family that were members of the association earned about $2,000. If compared with several years ago, it is so different,” he said.
Geographical Indication (GI) status was given to Kampong Speu’s palm sugar by the World Trade Organization, so buyers know that a particular product comes from a specific geographical location, guaranteeing its quality. Kampong Speu palm sugar was granted GI status in 2010.
Hun Piseth, the vice-director of Confirel, a palm sugar export company, said the demand for organic sugar saw an increase and palm sugar recognition from many countries and supply exceeds demand.
“Obviously this year we plan to export about 160 tons, but we have collected only 110 tons of sugar for export,” Mr. Piseth said.
“Because of this kind of recognition from the international community and the demand for Kampong Speu palm sugar has increased from year to year. There is also nothing as special as Kampong Speu palm sugar and it is not a problem facing counterfeit products,” he said.
The association is also planning to open a small factory that will have the capacity to produce three tons of organic palm sugar a day. Residents can bring their palm juice and then the juice will be converted into palm sugar, he added.