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Longan rots amid Thai border closure

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Truck drivers protests to Thai authorities for banning products from entering Thailand at Doung International Border Checkpoint in Battambang province on August 10. FACEBOOK

Longan rots amid Thai border closure

More than 40 tonnes of Pailin longan – locally known as Ta Ngen – has started to spoil due to a logjam of trucks at Doung International Checkpoint in Battambang province’s Kamrieng district as the Thai border remained closed.

Brokers urged authorities to intervene and convince Thai authorities to reopen the border so trucks can transport agricultural products into Thailand.

Din Den, a broker who exports longans to Thailand, said on August 12 that almost half of his 40 tonnes of fruit were spoiled because of the delay at the checkpoint, which has lasted three nights and four days.

“Of nine trucks, only two were permitted to enter Thailand. The others carrying more than 40 tonnes of longan cannot enter and now over 20 tonnes are spoiled,” he said.

Checkpoint deputy chief Em Visoth Raingsey said on August 12 that he had spoken with Thai officials about reopening the border, but Thai authorities said there was no law or agreement for Cambodian longans to be exported through this checkpoint.

“People asked us to negotiate with Thai authorities to export Pailin longan to Thailand. So I attempted to do it, but they were not open to negotiations. The Thais said they only accept [goods] that they do not have. So, we need intervention from the higher authority,” he said.

Kamrieng district governor Sok Kim Khon said on August 12 that he had advised residents to take their request to the provincial administration because district authorities could not negotiate with their Thai counterparts to reopen the border.

“They already knew that the Thais don’t allow Cambodian longans to be sold in their country, but they ignored and violated the law. We have never exported longans to Thailand at any border gates stretching from Koh Kong to Preah Vihear provinces,” he said.

Battambang deputy provincial governor Soeum Bunrith said it is up to Thai authorities whether longans can be imported into their country.

“When their law did not mention longans, it doesn’t mean that everything can be imported via the border gate. They have set up the checkpoint for the transportation of those products,” he said.

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