Today we’ll explain in detail the 9-year-long history of our project!
’How did this idea of a Cambodian project came about?’
We arrived for the first time in Cambodia in February 2013, as tourists, but with a true desire to discover Asia. We wishes to find a land or a house in Cambodia, in order to travel in the surrounding countries. But things didn’t go as planned…
The discovery of Cambodia, of the Kampot region, and the visit of a Kampot Pepper plantation made us change our minds! Only four days after our arrival, we were lucky enough to find a land at the end of a dirtroad, were we could only come by motorcycle.
A fallow land, without water or electricity, but a dreamy environment: a view on the lake and mount Bokor, the sea, and the Vietnamian island of Phu Quoc. This crazy project at the end of the world was taking shape: La Plantation was launched!
‘But why pepper?’
The region was known for the quality of its pepper for many years. During the French Protectorate, the entire production of the region was exported towards France under the name of Indochina Pepper. Since 2010, the Kampot Pepper GPI had been put in place. Thus, we set a goal to become producers of Kampot Pepper and actively engage in the Rebirth of Kampot Pepper and its radiance accross the world.
‘You didn’t know anything about cultivating Kampot Pepper, how did you do it?’
From 2013 to 2016, we reclaimed the lands, put in place the Kampot Pepper plantation whilst respecting the GPI specifications. We created a team led by a local expert of pepper farming, himself planter, son and greatson of planters. Around the farm, we conceived infrastructures (water reservoirs and irrigation networks), farming and employees buildings, a production unit and areas to dry the pepper. All of this to be ready for our first harvest, finally, in 2016!
At this time, we decided to open up La Plantation to visitors.
‘Why opening La Plantation to visitors?’
Pepper might be the most used spice in the world, but few people had the chance to see how pepper grew, and the many handmade steps necessary to get this black marvel in your mill.
As an entrepreneur never stops entrepreneuring, we played the game and decided to launch the brand La Plantation and constitute a range of peppers and spices of Cambodia, that expands each year since.
‘And other spices?’
Very quickly, we wishes to propose both locally and internationally, the best spices of Cambodia. The country abounds in endemic plants and spices harvested or cultivated in the wild. Small farmers have a strong expertise in their cultures, but cannot access the international market.
La Plantation thus put an infrastructure in place to collect these fresh products to Cambodian families (in the context of our Fair Trade contracts), to then process, package and distribute them abroad.
‘How are you perceived by the locals?’
It’s been 9 years, since we have been highly engaged in this project on the daily. We propose a steady job, well paid and good working conditions to our employees who mainly come from our village. Our of respect and gratitude, they call us in Khmer grandpa and grandma!
And what is more rejoicing than seeing the smiles of our kids as each new start of the academic year.
You just need to come see us at La Plantation in Kampot!