The trend of longan cultivation in western Cambodia’s Pailin Province continues to expand. Farmers see the fruit as more and more profitable, according to provincial Department of Agriculture deputy director Im Sophoeun. He said longan is regarded as the main agricultural product of the province.
Provincial Department of Agriculture figures show that farmers expanded longan cultivation to 3,983.5 ha last year, a 24.4 per cent increase from 3,201 ha in 2017. Last year, total yield reached 3,997 tons, with a market price of $1 per kg.
“Compared to other fruits, the longan generated higher revenues,” he said. “However, the fruit is currently only informally exported to Thailand, with China as the final destination.”
Sophoeun said phytosanitation is still the main challenge for the fruit to attract direct investors. Pailin Longan Product Agricultural Cooperative vice-president Un Theng said even though the price has been stable so far, challenges for the sector include a volatile market and weather.
“We make a good profit – our buyer is China, [whose orders] come through Thailand, so it is a bit concerning for us. If the border is blocked then we will face a crisis,” he said. “If we could manage a sustainable market and obtain proper irrigation for farms, we’d earn huge profits and promote our economic growth.”
The cooperative has 236 family members, which occupy 900 ha. Last year it produced 3,500 tons of longan and expects to produce 7,000 tons this year.