October 26, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Cambodia is due to sign three major protocols with Chinese Customs on November 9, opening the door for exports of Cambodian peppercorn, “wild aquatic products” and “edible aquatic animals” to China, according to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secretary of state Hean Vanhan.
These items will be added to the list of Cambodian agricultural products authorised by Beijing for official export to China following intensive negotiations spearheaded by the ministry, which includes milled rice, corn, dried cassava, mangoes, bananas and Pailin longan, he told The Post on October 24.
The accords will strengthen and expand the scope of the Kingdom’s international cooperation in agriculture as well as the reach of its agricultural merchandise, elevating the global reputation and quality of Cambodian goods and paying off for farmers and the national economy, he claimed.
He affirmed that his ministry has been authorised by the Royal Government to sign the three protocols with the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).
The formal names of the instruments include the “Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Peppercorns from Cambodia to China” and “Protocol on Inspection, Quarantine and Veterinary Sanitary Requirements for Wild Aquatic Products to be Exported from Cambodia to China”, according to Vanhan.
The other is the “Protocol of Quarantine and Hygiene Requirements for Edible Aquatic Animals to be Exported from Cambodia to China”, whose Khmer name provided by Vanhan indicates that live exports are covered by the document. The Chinese names of the three protocols were not immediately available for comparison.
Vanhan remarked that stepping up exports and finding more buyers requires hard work on the part of farmers and investors, and that gaining access to new markets hinges on the capacity of exporters and the broader private sector.
Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Nguon Lay suggested that a fair share of current Cambodian peppercorn exports to China is off the books, but stressed that the establishment of legitimate channels would greatly encourage investment in cultivation, processing and packaging.
The KPPA is Cambodia’s apex industry body for Kampot pepper – the most highly-prized variety of the Kingdom – which is grown in the coastal province of the same name and is the sole cultivar protected under national geographical indication (GI).
“Official export channels to China for Cambodian pepper will help growers earn more, but since there are pepper associations in China – notably in Hainan – peppercorn exports there will not likely be able to rise all that much,” Lay said.
He shared that he met Chinese investors last week who were looking to ship Cambodian peppercorn to China.
Last week, Phot Saphanborey, the boss of longan processor and exporter Pechenda Fruit Production PFP Co Ltd, told The Post that his company is rushing to deliver on Cambodia’s first formal export of fresh longan to China by November, a trial consignment of the Pailin variety that could be in the 50-80-tonne range.
This was after the Chinese embassy on September 8 revealed that Beijing had given the green light to the plantations as well as the processing and packaging facilities registered to produce or handle the fruit for export to China, following a final assessment of quality, phytosanitary and legal considerations as well as compliance with Cambodia Good Agricultural Practices (CamGAP) standards.
Pechenda is doing what it can to fulfil as soon as possible the special export procedures afforded by the government, Saphanborey said.
Better quality and phytosanitary conditions have enabled Cambodia agricultural products to access more export markets, especially China, the world’s most populous nation.