King of Spice: Pepper Farming on Rise in Cambodia

The ministry of agriculture reports, the number of plantations has increased from 1400 hectares in 2012 to 6000 hectares in 2016


Kampot province in Cambodia is popularly known for its pepper farming business. Kampot pepper has been renowned for decades as one of the best peppers in the world. The rich farming soil in this region produces high-quality pepper that has joined an elite group of food items recognised and protected by the European Union.

According to the Indian spice company group Nedspice’s annual pepper report, since 2006, pepper commodity prices have been in a “bull market” and were still reaching new highs as of February. The estimation by Nedspice said, 40 to 45 percent of global consumption takes place in Asia.

  • Kampot pepper can sell for up to 20,000 dollars per tonne on the market. Whereas, pepper from other provinces averages out to 75 per tonne on the market.
  • Pepper farming is becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia. The ministry of agriculture reports that the number of plantations has increased from 1400 hectares in 2012 to 6000 hectares in 2016.

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  • The total yield average is approximately 11,400 tonnes of black pepper per year. Although pepper farming in Cambodia has increased in the last several years, 2016 was a difficult harvest.
Pepper farming in Cambodia. Image source:
Pepper farming in Cambodia. Image source:
  • “This year, it’s difficult to get a good crop because of the drought… and the crop itself doesn’t grow big like it’s supposed to. This year we didn’t expect to get a good crop”, said Ngoun Lay from Pepper Association in an interview conducted by NewsGram.

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  • Cambodia’s ministry of agriculture says it is looking for funding to help farmers find alternative water sources to irrigate their fields but farmers claim that so far no help has come.


  • “What we want is water, we need resources. The government can help us to dig ponds and well again. The water is important to us because when we’re farming we need water” said Ngoun Lay highlighting the lack of water sources.
  • Although, Cambodians have tax-free access to the European Union. Farmers growing pepper in other provinces sell yo Vietnam where companies have greater access to international markets whether it’s the elite Kampot pepper or the ordinary kind, spice will continue to keep farmers in business across the country if they can find enough water to irrigate their fields.

– by Akansha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akansha4117