It was a busy 2015 for all of us at Kiri Highland Pepper. After our harvest last year, we upgraded the irrigation system to enable us to hand-water in addition to the drip irrigation system. We spent nearly one month harvesting grass from our farm and laying it all over the main 2-hectare pepper plot, after observing during the previous dry season that the soil between the rows had dried out very quickly. We laid a concrete slab and fenced off our pepper drying area, and built a pepper storage and processing shed. We improved the road access, made extra drains, and fenced all around our 3-hectare avocado plot. We excavated a whole new area of land near the current drying area in preparation for further expansion of drying facilities. We planted a new plot with around 800 poles of pepper, as well as many neem trees (ស្ដៅ-sdau in Khmer) in preparation for making natural sprays to deter pests. We perfected the processes for sorting the pepper, cleaning and blanching it, and making white pepper. We improved the farm cottage for the workers, installing new wood-fired stoves. We finalised the design for our farmhouse, and cleared the plot for building it on top of the hill overlooking the pepper plot. We organised a drone video of our farm. Last but not least, we developed our logo and website. Phew! I am exhausted just thinking about everything we have done over the last year.
There is still much more to do, but we are making good progress in preparing to export our pepper. We are very pleased with the pepper quality we have obtained through the enhanced care of our plants and the improved processing methods. We are looking forward to 2016, with the many exciting challenges ahead!