Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Battambang oranges making a comeback

Battambang oranges making a comeback

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer plucks ripe oranges at an orchard in Battambang province in 2017. Heng Chivoan

Battambang oranges making a comeback

After being nearly dormant for years because of the spread of a deadly disease, the famous Battambang orange is starting to make a comeback.

Previously, the orange industry was almost destroyed by an incurable disease, known as citrus greening, which reared its head in the 1990s, causing infected trees to be felled.

In Sovanmony, deputy director of the Battambang Provincial Agriculture Department, said that a few years ago, he was sure citrus greening would sound a death knell for the province’s famous orange industry, as farmers gave up on the fruit in favour of other crops.

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 with 1,071 hectares in 2016, Sovanmony said.

The Battambang orange is unique in that its rind 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.

Mak Samoeurn, a 66-year-old citrus farmer, has some 500 orange trees on his 1.5-hectare orchard in Battambang’s Sangke district.

He said he has been lucky thus far in that his latest batch has remained disease-free. However, he had to fell nearly 400 trees a few years ago when they were infected with citrus greening.

“My farm is doing fine now. I learned a lot from the technical training given by the Agriculture Department on how to care for my orange trees and prevent them from being affected by disease. “I follow the instructions from the training I underwent and in the last season, I earned $3,000 in net profit from my harvest.

“Now more farmers are starting to plant oranges again, after gaining confidence from the experience of others,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.