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

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”