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THE REGION OF KAMPOT

Kampot Pepper takes its name from the province of Kampot, in south-west Cambodia, some 140 kilometres from the capital of Phnom Penh. The pepper growing area of Kampot covers six districts located in the province of Kampot and that of Kep (which was recently separated from Kampot).

Bordered by the sea, the Kampot pepper growing area has an exceptional climate as regards exposure to the sun, sea breezes, the quality of the land and rainfall during the rainy season.

This region is renowned for the beauty of its agricultural landscapes, with palm trees reflecting in the rice fields at sunset, fruit trees (mangos, durian) heavy with fruit and majestic pepper trees rising towards the sun. It is also renowned for its quality of life and the smiling welcome of its inhabitants.

FROM THE ARRIVAL OF THE CHINESE IN THE 13TH CENTURY TO THE FRENCH PROTECTORATE

In the region of Kampot, the arrival of Chinese pepper planters dates back to the 13th century. More recently, at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, the French developed pepper growing on an intense scale in the region of Kampot. Annual production reached 8,000 tonnes, with more than a million pepper poles installed.

The region benefits from the traditional pepper growing knowledge and expertise handed down from one generation to the next. This explains the exceptional quality of Kampot pepper.

At that time, Kampot pepper was mainly exported to France. It has always had a reputation of being a high-quality pepper, one of the best in the world. Its flavour and unique aroma make it very popular with gourmet chefs.

 

THE RENAISSANCE

During the civil war in the 1970s, pepper growing was abandoned. It gradually started again from 2000 onwards when the families of generations of pepper planters began to return to their lands. Kampot pepper is grown using traditional ancestral methods. New commercial outlets are enabling these families to restore plantations, and new plantations have also been established recently.

PGI and KPPA

2010 marked a watershed in the renaissance of Kampot pepper with the establishment of a PGI (protected geographical indication) label by the Ministry of Trade and the French Development Agency. Kampot pepper thus became the first Cambodian agricultural product to be granted PGI (protected geographical indication) status, on 2 April 2010. This PGI has been registered in Europe in February 2016.

The PGI requires producers to comply with very strict specifications laying down rules governing production (land, cultivated area, natural fertilizers and natural pesticides), processing, packaging and traceability.

Plantations are controlled by the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) and by the independent certification body EcoCert. Only accredited members of the KPPA, adhering to the PGI criteria, are authorised to sell pepper using the “Kampot Pepper” appellation of origin.

 

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

Today, if you walk in the Kampot and Kep countryside, you will notice a large number of new pepper plantations springing up. The renaissance of Kampot pepper is in full swing.

The region now boasts several hundred plantations, ranging from family-run plantations, with several hundred poles, to plantations covering more than 20 hectares.

In 2016, the Genuine Kampot Pepper production reached 70 tons and is expected to increase to 100 tons in 2017.