The trend of longan cultivation in Pailin Province continues to expand as farmers see the fruit as more and more profitable, according to provincial Department of Agriculture deputy director Im Sophoeun.
He said longan is regarded as the main agricultural product of the province.
Provincial Department of Agriculture figures show that farmers expanded longan cultivation to 3,983.5ha last year, a 24.4 per cent increase from 3,201ha in 2017.
The report shows that last year, total yield reached 3,997 tonnes, with a market price of $1 per kg.
“Compared to other fruits, the longan generated higher revenues,” he said. “However, the fruit is currently only informally exported to Thailand, with China as the final destination.”
Sophoeun said phytosanitation is still the main challenge for the fruit to attract direct investors.
“If we can deal with the challenge, we will attract a lot of investors and add more to value chains,” he said.
Pailin Longan Product Agricultural Cooperative vice-president Un Theng said even though the price has been stable so far, challenges for the sector include a volatile market and weather.
“We make a good profit – our buyer is China, [whose orders] come through Thailand, so it is a bit concerning for us. If the border is blocked then we will face a crisis,” he said. “If we could manage a sustainable market and obtain proper irrigation for farms, we’d earn huge profits and promote our economic growth.”
The cooperative has 236 family members, which occupy 900ha. Last year it produced 3,500 tonnes of longan and expects to produce 7,000 tonnes this year.
“Chinese buyers already set up offices to buy from us all within the good price,” he said.
Sreng Sreang, a longan farmer with 7.5ha of land, is happy with the current market saying he will collect 27 tonnes in the harvesting season, having produced 18 tonnes last year.
“Longan is more profitable than other fruits. If we make proper use of farming technologies, then we will get high production and profits,” he said. “I am happy with the price . . . Now, I will just pay more attention to water as it is dry season.”