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Photo: Velvyslanectví ČR v Phnompenhu/Embassy of the Czech Republic
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Czech entrepreneurs to bring food processing technology for Kampot pepper farmers

On 14th February, Valentine´s Day, in Chkuk District, Kampot province, Czech entrepreneurs handed over the food processing equipment to Kampot pepper farmers. Two years ago, they have established EU Land and Pepper Investment in bid to introduce the famous pepper in the Czech Republic. After the initial success, they teamed up with Czech producers to design and supply a set of a vacuum packaging and drying chamber machines. The company is now hoping to buy and process more pepper from smallest Cambodian farmers with no prior access to the food processing facilities.

It was back in 2018 when two Czech enthusiasts Klára Dohnalová and David Pavel decided to set up the local company EU Land and Pepper Investment Co., Ltd. to import Kampot pepper into their home country. Today, they sell different variety of pepper under their own fair trade brand in design glass test tubes to add a distinctiveness to the pepper used once in exclusivity by the world´s most acclaimed chefs. Czech glass and wood designers have also been engaged to create a distinguishing packaging for the pepper.

However, besides trading the world´s best pepper, the exclusiveness is not the main motto of founders. In Cambodia, the Czech company reinvests part of their income to support small farmers. Many of them lack technologies and can rely on the domestic market only. This brought the company founders to an idea of importing new food processing equipment. Once installed locally, EU Land hopes small suppliers would largely benefit, as they will manage to preserve the best quality of the pepper before its purchase from abroad. For this reason the company has collaborated with Czech suppliers to manufacture a set of a vacuum packaging and drying chamber machines to process the pepper.  

As an importer we guarantee full fair trade price for all small pepper farmers involved. The food processing machinery would help them to be more competitive towards bigger producers”, says David from EU Land and Pepper Investment. His associate Klára further explains about goals: “Besides cooperating with small farmers we also very much focus on marketing, which is lagging behind. Moreover, there is a similar view among Kampot Pepper Promotion Association co-members that better promotion and inclusiveness of small producers is essential”.

Because of the development and fair trade compound under which both local and foreign businesses can cooperate, the project got the support from the Czech Development Agency (CZDA). Under its B2B Programme, CZDA has provided a partial subsidy for the project implementation with the rest invested by the Czech company. One of criteria to consider was the creation of business-to-business opportunities and positive impacts on employment and livelihood.

In general, modernization of the agriculture in Cambodia remains one of business interests for Czech machinery suppliers. In the past, Czech companies built a sugar mill in Cambodia and supplied the machinery for cooperatives. For many of them food processing looks promising as a market opportunity as it can uplift Cambodia from the primary production to the global value chains and enhance the competiveness and skills. In addition, when it comes to skills the Czech Republic is already active locally in this field. Apart the food processing, there is an ongoing cooperation between Czech and Cambodian universities in agriculture, agro-forestry and applied research.