Pepper plantation expected to increase this year

February 23, 2021, Chea Vanyuth / Khmer Times ,

The planting of pepper is expected to increase this year thanks to growing demand for the condiment on the international market, particularly from China.

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries showed that pepper plantations nationwide covered 6,822 hectares in 2020.  That figure is expected to increase by 5 percent to 7,163 hectares this year.

The ministry said the yield in 2020 was 18,829 tonnes.

The primary market for Cambodia’s pepper exports is made up of 13 countries – Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Vietnam, the US, Russia, England, India, Belarus and South Korea.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for pepper – geographically indicated (GI), organic and normal – is on the rise, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry stated that of total pepper production, GI pepper accounts for between 70 and 100 tonnes per year, with organic pepper contributing between 100 to 150 tonnes yearly. Normal pepper production accounts for roughly 18,000 tonnes annually.

Mak Ny, president of the Cambodia Pepper and Spice Federation, said the federation’s member companies are diversifying their pepper products for supply to both domestic and export demand.

“Through the bilateral free trade agreement between Cambodia and China signed last October, we expect exports to China of between 2,500 and 5,000 tonnes per year,” said Ny.

The federation produced 1,378 tonnes in 2020 from pepper cultivation of 459 hectares.