In Cambodia, government campaigns to support prices of longans in the face of plummeting demand in neighboring Thailand have failed to win over farmers. The Covid-related shutdown of economic activity in Thailand has killed off demand for exports of longans, hitting growers in western Cambodia’s Battambang and Pailin provinces hard.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has in recent weeks ordered the chief of his elite bodyguard unit to buy longans from Battambang and Pailin provinces and told a representative named Leng Navatra, who runs a music production company, to encourage pop singers to promote the purchase of the fruit to the public.
For nearly three weeks, government teams bought about 2,000 tons of longans from farmers in the two provinces, which together produce as much as 159,833 tons annually, but exported only 174 tons in 2020 in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, since early August, longan growers have protested to press their demand that the government do more to prop up the market for the fruit.