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Longan farmers in Pailin plan factory

A co-operative of longan farmers in Pailin plans to build a processing factory to increase export capacity as output and demand rise.

Meas Loeurn, the co-operative’s leader, told the Post on Wednesday rising demand from China was prompting growing numbers of farmers to cultivate the fruit.

“During the new year, we will push to set up the factory because some officials are promoting this issue very much,” Loeurn said.

Through the co-operative, farmers could stagger their plantations’ output according to demand, he said.

Four hundred members — collectively farming hundreds of hectares of longan plantations — have joined the co-operative since it was founded last year.

Sreng Sreang, deputy director of the Pailin longan collective, said nearly 1,000 tonnes of longan fruit were harvested last year.

He estimated that output would rise to between 1,300 and 1,500 tonnes with the establishment of the factory.

“[The collective] plans to set up the factory to make our products keep longer and [so that] we can collect outputs from our members and other farmers,” Sreang said.

The group had collected about $75,000 from members to fund the factory’s construction, Loeurn said.

Sokh Sathim, deputy director of the Pailin Provincial Department of Commerce, expressed his support for the project, noting: “The plan to set up the factory is good because the amount of exports to China is still small.”

The government  hopes the longan will gain Geographic Indicator status, an internationally accepted standard that protects the intellectual property rights of a product from a specific region.

Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, said officials had drafted a law on the Geographic Indicator certification, but it was still under examination by the Ministry of Justice.

“I hope that after the law is finalised, there will be more funds to help this project,” Thora said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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