The private sector expects that international demand for “Kampot-Kep salt”, “Kampot-Kep fish sauce” and “Takeo crayfish” will grow following their anticipated domestic registrations as geographical indications (GIs) this year.

Chan Sitha, CEO of well-known fish sauce maker E Chei Ngov Heng Food Production of Kampot, said the news of GI registration is an excellent indicator that sales, especially exports, will grow.

“I want to export more of our fish sauce. We are currently working to earn recognition and are already in talks with South Korean importers. I expect to begin exporting sauce to them this year,” he added.

Sitha continued that he was slowly expanding operations. There is only one season to catch the fish he uses as his raw material, so he as waiting for the accreditation to be complete before investing in larger facilities.

“Once we have the GI, it will become famous, which will make it easier to enter new markets,” he concluded.

Thaung Thyda, managing director of Kampot-Kep salt processing firm Thaung Trading Co Ltd, which produces and packages natural salt from Kampot, said it will be a source of pride to present the Kingdom’s top-quality salt to international consumers.

“This registration will increase people’s awareness of Kampot salt. Improved sales of this unique product will not only provide a boost to the traditions and culture of Cambodia, but will allow us to make a greater contribution to the growth of the economy, and improve the livelihoods of local farmers and stakeholders,” she said.

Suon Vichea, director of the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Intellectual Property Rights, said the push to obtain GI certification for the three products was initiated by minister Pan Sorasak.

“Final confirmation that the three have been accepted is expected any month now. This will have far-reaching benefits to the individuals who are involved in their production, and their communities,” he said.

The department has worked closely with the the French Development Agency (ADF) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to register Kampot-Kep salt. It also received assistance from the EU’s Arise plus Intellectual Property Rights programme to register Kampot-Kep fish sauce and Takeo crayfish.

A GI is an intellectual property tool that protects the quality or reputation associated with a geographical location and can be used as a source of identification.

The department is also currently working closely with UNIDO to register three other products: Kampong Som Dried Shrimp, Koh Kong Dried Shrimp and Siem Reap Prahok.

At the same time, the commerce ministry has requested that WIPO evaluate the suitability of Koh Kong crab and Battambang milled rice for registration.

Vann Socheata