The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on August 12 called on exporters of Pailin longan to divert their products from Thailand to Vietnam in light of the Covid-related Cambodia-Thai border closures, as the harvest season ramps up.
Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed on phytosanitary requirements permitting Cambodian longan to enter the Vietnamese market, as distributors and exporters face significant plant-protection barriers and a raft of other obstacles posed by the pandemic, the ministry said in a statement.
It called on the private sector and general public to ditch imports and buy locally-grown longan instead to keep farmers and producers in business during the prolonged economic slump.
"People should support Khmer products – help buy our longan fruit under the spirit of ‘Khmers help Khmers’. Buy the fruit from our farmers, especially the Pailin longan farming community during this difficult situation.
“We call on owners of supermarkets, companies and local agricultural processing cottage industries to help stock up on Pailin longan to sell, distribute or process for local consumption instead of importing canned longan from abroad."
The ministry said it holds out strong hopes that the public will heed its plea and keep the spirit of promoting productivity alive and foster a greater sense of pride in the community.
Pailin longan is expected to be the third Cambodian fruit to be officially exported directly to the Chinese market, after bananas and mangoes, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.
Longan – also known by the botanical name Dimocarpus longan – is a tropical evergreen tree species native to Asia that produces edible fruit. And according to the minister, in Cambodia the fruit is mostly grown in Pailin and Battambang provinces and parts of Preah Vihear province.
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.
The Kingdom has proposed Pailin longan as the next fruit to export to China, so that Beijing can determine eligibility for import. However, the Chinese side has yet to respond.