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Preah Vihear durians make sweet historic China debut

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A vendor arranges a display of durians for sale, on the road in Phsar Doeum Thkov commune of the capital’s Chamkarmon district in May. Heng Chivoan

Preah Vihear durians make sweet historic China debut

TKY Farm, a Monthong durian growing and exporting company in Preah Vihear province, shipped over 120 tonnes of durian to the Chinese market via Thailand, in a first for Cambodia.

It was done through a local partner who is in a partnership with a Chinese company. There are plans to expand exports to 500 tonnes by 2023.

TKY Farm CEO Yi Sinath said the company has been growing durians for eight years, with more than 16,000 trees planted on a 200ha plot, making it one of the largest producers in Preah Vihear province.

The plantation has been steadily increasing production every year, hitting more than 300 tonnes this year. About 4,000 durian trees were harvested this year, with more expected next year, thanks to an additional 2,000 new trees.

As for the price, Sinath, who did not divulge the amount, said it is similar to that of Kampot and Kampong Cham durians.

Seeing how China is a big market for durian, TKY Farm decided to cooperate with a local company to export frozen durians to Chinese shores for the first time.

Going forward, Sinath expressed hope to export directly to China instead of going through a local company with partnerships with China and neighbouring countries. “Of course, we want to export directly to China because going through other countries is not easy. Next year, we will find an easier way to export.”

In the past, many Chinese and Thai companies have contacted TKY Farm to export durians to China but Covid-19 hampered plans, forcing the company to suspend shipment.

Meanwhile, TKY Farm aims to have its durians registered as a GI (geographical indication) product, thanks to its taste and quality which is unique to Preah Vihear, and recognised in Cambodia and internationally.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Durian fruits from TKY Farm in early July. TKY FARM VIA FACEBOOK

Preah Vihear provincial Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry director Peung Tryda said durians have high economic potential, which has recently encouraged a fair share of locals in the province to cultivate the spiky, pungent fruit.

“This year, we have more area under durian cultivation than last year. Although our durians have yet to be exported directly [to China], TKY Farm’s exports bear positive signs for our local growers,” he said.

Recall that, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon recently said that Cambodian durians did not have a foreign market, like China yet.

Cambodia has not reached a stage where negotiations to develop a phytosanitary protocol can take place.

Previously, this was challenged by Cambodia’s limited supply of the fruit, making talks difficult.

In addition, other agricultural products were also waiting to be reviewed by China as well as ascertaining the volume of domestic production.

It is understood that Chinese authorities only consider imports of a single product per country at a time so as to take into account stringent processes including phytosanitary and other inspections.


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