Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Race against time for Chinese approval of longan shipments

Race against time for Chinese approval of longan shipments

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pailin longan cultivation has reached 13,608ha nationwide, of which 7,000ha will be harvested this season, expected to yield about 110,000 tonnes. Heng Chivoan

Race against time for Chinese approval of longan shipments

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Pailin Longan Association (PLA) are fast-tracking negotiations for market access to China in a race against time to reach a prompt and meaningful resolution to the plight facing longan growers before peak harvest season.

Longan – also known by the botanical name Dimocarpus longan – is a tropical evergreen tree species native to Asia that produces edible fruit of the soapberry family, which also includes lychees and rambutan.

According to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, in Cambodia the fruit, branded as “Pailin longan”, is mostly grown in the provinces of Pailin and Battambang, and in parts of Preah Vihear province.

Farmers and exporters to Thailand have been dealing with severe market pressures following the neighbouring country’s complete halt in purchases of Cambodian longan, after China on August 13 imposed a ban on Thai longan over contamination with mealybugs, which it lifted just four days later.

The harvest typically occurs from August to end-December, peaking in November, according to the PLA.

Pailin longan is expected to be the third Cambodian fruit to be officially exported directly to the Chinese market, after bananas and, more recently, mangoes, according to the agriculture minister. But as the ministry’s director-general for Agriculture Ngin Chhay previously told The Post, Chinese authorities only consider a single product per country at a time to import.

PLA vice-chairman Suon Chum said the agriculture and commerce ministries have submitted a formal proposal to the Chinese side to negotiate phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh and frozen Pailin longan to China.

He remarked that Cambodia has sufficient capacity to supply longan to the Chinese market, thanks to a $5 million processing plant invested by a Chinese party that is ready to start production.

“We have yet to bring the plant online because we don’t have a permit to export directly to China – negotiations on phytosanitary requirements with China are still underway,” he said.

He added that the factory has the capacity to dry about 30 tonnes of longan per hour and package hundreds of tonnes per day.

“The agriculture ministry has made great efforts to secure market access to China for Pailin longan,” Chum said, alluding to a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) signed by Cambodia and China on October 12 that will enter into force 30 days after both Parliaments ratify the deal.

“We’ve nearly achieved market access to China for longan, all things considered. It’s time,” he added.

The FTA will eliminate tariffs on a wide range of products, including longan.

According to the agriculture minister, Pailin longan cultivation has reached 13,608ha nationwide, of which 7,000ha will be harvested this season, expected to yield about 110,000 tonnes.

The trees yield an average of between seven and 30 tonnes per hectare depending on crop maintenance.

PLA members grow Pailin longan on 2,900ha in Pailin, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey and are expected to produce 50,000 tonnes this year, or nearly half of the national total.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng