In the first eight months of 2023, exports of fresh Cambodian longans to China reached 8,118 tonnes, an increase of more than 3,720 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries.

Ministry spokeswoman Im Rachna said on September 19 that the large increase is due to Chinese consumers becoming more and more aware of the quality of the Kingdom’s fruit.

She said that in August alone, fresh longan exports reached 3,250 tonnes, noting that Cambodian longans are being heavily promoted in various Chinese online marketplaces, including Alibaba, the largest e-commerce platform in China.

“The quality and delectable taste of our longan is now recognised by the Chinese people. During Prime Minister Hun Manet’s recent visit to China, he was served fresh Cambodian longan. This was a source of pride for the Kingdom’s fruit farmers,” she said.

According to Rachna, the ministry is currently supporting farmers by strengthening the cultivation of Pailin longans to ensure their quality, in accordance with the hygiene and phytosanitary standards required by China.

Say Chamroeun, a representative of China Jinkwoayuan Import Export (Cambodia), a company which exports fresh Pailin longans to China, said exports have been going smoothly since July. The company has now exported 43 containers, equivalent to about 1,000 tonnes.

Although the export process went smoothly, he noted that the costs of shipping remained high, with containers currently routed through the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, at $3,400 each, or Vietnam, at $3,100 per container.

“We have asked the government to negotiate the return of access to Thai port facilities, as they are significantly cheaper, at around $2,500 per container. Because Thailand also exports fresh longans, they will not allow us to transport ours through their ports,” he explained.

Pailin Longan Agricultural Production Cooperative president Suos Siyat said the longan harvesting season began in July and will continue until May 2024. The crop can be harvested almost all year round, he explained, thanks to the use of fertilisers.

According to Siyat, this year’s crop has experienced some minor challenges, due to a lack of rainfall.

However, he said there has been no significant impact on the export harvest.

“In some areas, there is a shortage of water. Pailin province has little rainfall, which can reduce the quality of longan pulp. Fortunately, the majority of farmers have their own wells and water pumps,” he added.