Kampot Pepper Growers To Raise Price After Dry Season

The Kampot Pepper Association will raise its product price from Jan 1 in a bid to support its members after a difficult growing season, an association leader said yesterday.

Kampot pepper was awarded Geographic Indicator status by the Commerce Ministry in April, in recognition of the spice’s unusual combination of flavors. According to KPA President Nguon Lay, the pepper is not selling for a high enough price in local supermarkets and supermarkets in France, where it is a popular gourmet ingredient, to net farmers a profit.

Mr Lay said this year’s bounty was not expected to be as large as usual, because a lack of rain had hindered the growth of farmers’ crops.

“The price set in 2009 and 2010 did not give farmers any profit,” Mr Lay said by telephone. “We will increase the price because we want farmers to receive proper profit and encourage them to grow pepper.”

According to Mr Lay, Kampot black pepper sold for $5 a kilogram and red pepper sold for $8 a kilogram in 2009, before the price of black pepper was raised $.75 and the price of red pepper was raised by $2.50 this year. Mr Lay said the 2011 price would be decided after consultation with consumers.

“The buyer wants to get a cheap price…so if [the KPA] wants to raise the price, they will have to keep the quality high,” celebrity chef and Cambodia Hotel Association President Luu Meng said yesterday.

Chief of the Commerce Ministry’s Geographical Indicators Bureau Lao Reasey said yesterday that he feared a price hike could lead to a lack of demand for Kampot pepper.

Kompong Speu Palm Sugar Association director Som Saroeun said yesterday that they were also considering raising the price of their product, Cambodia’s only other crop with GI status. “The sugar price this year will be more than it was last year,” said KSPSA, adding that lack of rainfall had diminished this year’s harvest.

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