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The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has called for increased private sector investment in processing longan for export, as the Kingdom seeks to negotiate market access with phytosanitary authorities in a number of countries.

The move aims to expand the markets of local longan producers who are struggling to sell their products to traders, processors and exporters, who are significantly bogged down by phytosanitary barriers and a host of other obstacles posed by the pandemic.

Longan – also known botanically as Dimocarpus longan – is a tropical evergreen tree species native to Asia that produces edible fruits from the soap berry family, which also includes lychees and rambutan.

According to Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, the fruit, called “Pailin longan”, is mainly cultivated in Pailin and Battambang provinces, and parts of Preah province. Vihear.

The ministry said in a letter on August 20 that Pailin’s longans are a restricted product subject to phytosanitary barriers. This, he said, requires Cambodian phytosanitary authorities to negotiate in advance market access agreements with their counterparts in other countries, who must assess the biosecurity risks posed by pests associated with the pests. fruits.

In this context, the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure for cleaning, disinfection and packaging, and compliance with the agreed phytosanitary requirements is an important technical task in the phases of negotiation, inspection and assessment, and even after the start of exports, he noted.

The ministry called on the private sector, the agricultural community, relevant institutions and the public to join in its efforts to boost exports of fresh longans, investing in the necessary infrastructure and expanding the existing facilities, so that more fruit can be purchased for processing for export to countries with which the Kingdom signs new phytosanitary requirements protocols and adapt to demand.

Earlier this month, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed on phytosanitary requirements allowing Cambodian longan to enter the Vietnamese market, according to the ministry.

Minister Sakhon said in an interview with Cambodia National Television (TVK) on August 20 that the government needed around $ 49 million to buy Pailin longans from farmers Thailand banned from exporting.

“According to estimates of direct purchases from plantation owners, Pailin longan this year will have an average price of 1,800 riel. [$0.44] per kg, so we will need about $ 49 million to buy all of the farmers’ production from them. The expected longan yield is around 110,000 tonnes this year, ”he said.

The ministry said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is working with relevant authorities in China and Thailand to conclude discussions on phytosanitary requirements for longan exports as soon as possible.

Longan pailin should be the third Cambodian fruit to be officially exported directly to the Chinese market, after bananas and, more recently, mangoes, according to the Minister of Agriculture. But as the ministry’s director general of agriculture, Ngin Chhay, previously told The Post, Chinese officials are only considering one product per country at a time to import.

Farmers and exporters to Thailand faced strong market pressure after neighboring country’s Cambodian longan purchases stopped completely, after China imposed a ban on Thai longan on August 13 for contamination. by mealybugs, which she lifted four days later.

The cultivation of longan pailin has reached 13,608 ha nationwide, of which 7,000 ha will be harvested this season. Trees produce on average between seven and 30 tonnes per hectare depending on crop maintenance. And according to the Pailin Longan association, the harvest generally takes place from August to the end of December.

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