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Cambodia: Battambang oranges making a comeback

The famous Battambang orange is making a comeback, after being rather absent for years because of the spread of a deadly plant disease. The orange industry was almost destroyed by an incurable disease, known as citrus greening, which reared its head in the 1990s. At the time, infected trees had to be felled.

Deputy director of the Battambang Provincial Agriculture Department, In Sovanmony, said that a few years ago, he was sure citrus greening would mean the end sound for the province’s famous orange industry. However, with help and training from experts, and switching to a new orange variety, cultivation has slowly returned.

“Previously, our orange trees were widely affected by the disease, but now we have new plants that were developed through research. They are more resilient to disease, stronger and healthier too. We are also promoting awareness of new growing techniques and how to use fertilisers properly. Thanks to the more resilient plants, farmers have started cultivating oranges on a larger scale,” he said. Last year, orange cultivation expanded nine percent to 1,169 hectares compared to 2016.

As reported on phnompenhpost.com, the Battambang orange is unique in that its peel is green when ripe. The Ministry of Agriculture in 2016 said it was seeking to have the fruit recognised under the EU’s geographical identification (GI) status because of its unique flavour.

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