Kampot: the revival of Cambodian pepper

Kampot pepper is currently considered one of the best peppers in the world: it owes its unique flavor to its terroir and to the dedication of a few families, which has allowed the preservation of its culture, which has been in difficulty during its history.

According to the writings of the Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguant, the history of Kampot pepper began in the 13th century. However, it was from the 19th century that its production in Cambodia intensified. Indeed, before the start of the Aceh War in Indonesia (1873-1908), the Sultan of Aceh, not wishing to cede his resources to the Dutch, decided to burn his pepper plantations in Indonesia in 1873-1874. This is how the production migrated to Cambodia, in the Kampot region, allowing the latter to become the first supplier of pepper to France, following the colonial domination of France over Cambodia.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the quantities of peppers exported reached 8000 tons. This rise will however be quite short: in 1975, Cambodia is under the terrible Khmer Rouge regime, the plantations are then abandoned or converted into rice fields. At the end of the 20th century, Kampot pepper was then on the verge of extinction, when certain farming families decided to resume production.

It was therefore at the end of the Cambodian civil war that production gradually resumed, reaching around ten tonnes of pepper only after 15 years. At the beginning of the 21st century, the world price of pepper collapsed and the future of Kampot pepper was uncertain. However, some resistant plantations founded in the early 2000s will allow Kampot pepper to recover its prestige. Indeed, thanks to expatriates in love with the region, aiming to restore the image of this pepper, by guaranteeing a sufficient salary for Cambodian farmers. This will allow them to resume quality production and sorting, in optimal hygienic conditions.

In 2008, exports began and the growing demand for this prestigious pepper made it possible to expand the plantation. Thus, in 2009, Kampot pepper received a PGI (Protected Geographical Index) in 2016. These certifications allow Kampot pepper to protect against counterfeits and thus recognize its unique character. Kampot pepper is thus one of the best Piper Nigrum peppers that can be found in several variations: black, red, white pepper or even long pepper. It is a prestigious pepper that we offer at Cofrapep in all its forms.

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