[INNEWS Comprehensive Report] The Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries recently announced that in the first eight months of 2023, Cambodia exported more than 5,094 tons of various types of pepper. Compared with the same period last year, this figure has declined by more than 30%. This decline in exports reveals the deep impact of the global economic crisis, which has led to a general decline in orders for commodities including pepper.
In addition, uncertainty in market conditions and climate change have also put considerable pressure on crops, affecting yields and quality. Some farmers are unable to export to Vietnam and Thailand through transit because they have not applied for a phytosanitary certificate (unofficial export).
Mak Ny, chairman of the Cambodian Pepper and Spices Federation, pointed out that the reasons and circumstances for this decline in exports are no different from those in the first half of the year, mainly due to the decline in pepper market prices. Although pepper production is going on normally, some farmers have chosen to suspend sales and dry the pepper in the hope that prices will rise slightly before selling it. However, years of extremely hot weather and a lack of irrigation water have damaged pepper quality and kept market prices relatively low.
Mak Ny emphasized that the importance of opening up new markets is self-evident. Only when Cambodian pepper has a place in more new markets can it truly attract investors. In addition, although Cambodia has signed some regional and bilateral free trade agreements, it still faces some tariff barriers and phytosanitary issues.
According to the pepper market price list of the Cambodian Pepper and Spices Federation, as of September 24, 2023, the price of ordinary black pepper ranged from US$2,780 to US$3,120 per ton. However, pepper is listed as a geographical indication product, including black pepper at US$15,000 per ton, white pepper at US$28,000 per ton, and red pepper at US$25,000 per ton.
The report also noted that pepper is grown in 18 provinces in Cambodia, including Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Tboung Khmum and Kampot. Cambodia also exports pepper to Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, France, India, Belgium, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and other countries.