China Sets Hygiene Requirements for Cambodian Pepper

China has revealed new phytosanitary requirements to be applied to pepper exported from Cambodia to China, with any pepper that fails to meet the standards rejected
Pepper on sales in a market in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Pepper on sales in a market in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

China has announced phytosanitary requirements to import Cambodian pepper after an agreement on hygiene standards was inked between the two nations earlier this month.

On Monday, the Chinese Embassy made the announcement in the wake of Cambodia and China signing the "Protocol on Hygiene Requirements for Pepper Exports from Cambodia to China" on November 9 by Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Y Chien Hour, Minister of Customs Administration of The People's Republic of China (GACC), in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

According to the GACC announcement, according to Chinese laws and regulations between GACC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on phytosanitary requirements for importing pepper from Cambodia to China, only pepper that meets the requirements can be exported from Cambodia.

“Pepper planting bases and processing and packaging enterprises exported to China must be audited and filed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and approved by GACC and the Cambodian side,” said the GACC.

It added that the registration information includes name, address and registration number, to accurately trace the source when exported goods do not comply with the relevant provisions of the protocol.

Before the annual export season, the Cambodian side should provide the registration list to China, which will be published on the official website after being reviewed and approved.

Nguon Lay, President of Kampot Pepper Association (KPPA), told Kiripost on Thursday that Kampot pepper has been imported to China for a long time. To date, about 230 kilograms of Kampot pepper has been exported to China’s Guangdong province alone.

He believes Khmer pepper will find more markets places than Kampot pepper as the price between these two types of peppers differ.

“The prices between Khmer pepper and Kampot pepper vary from one another. Khmer pepper costs between $2.50 and $3 per kilogram. Black Kampot pepper costs $15 per kilogram, red pepper $25 per kilogram, and white pepper $28 per kilogram,” said the KPPA president.

He added, “We are always satisfied and always welcome government processing to export the pepper, but we are not sure and still waiting to see the next result.”

In 2022, about 65 tons of Kampot pepper will be exported abroad, and about 100 tons in total from 2021, Lay said. He added that the pepper market fluctuates depending on stocks and the needs of customers.

Cambodian pepper exports have plunged by nearly 70 percent due to a fall in consumption caused by Covid-19.

Due to its favorable climate and soil, Cambodia is considered to be one of the best regions in the world to grow high-quality pepper.

Kampot pepper is the first pepper in the world to be awarded Protected Geographic Indication status by the European Union.

Compared to other agricultural products in Cambodia, the volume of pepper production and export is quite small. In 2020, 17,000 tons were produced within the country, spanning 6,822 hectares. Approximately 3,500 tons were exported, based on a report by EuroCham Cambodia.