China's huge demand sees Cambodia's renowned longan exports surge before Lunar New Year

PHNOM PENH (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): A Chinese firm based in Pailin province is exporting over 100 tonnes of Pailin longan per day to China in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year holiday, or Spring Festival, according to an agriculture official.

Im Rachna, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that China Jinkwoayuan Import Export (Cambodia) – which first began exporting the fruit to the Chinese market in October 2022 – is the country’s first company to implement modern technology systems in longan processing.

She said the automation enables sorting of the fruit by type and size, and facilitates automatic packaging.

“As the New Year approaches, the demand for ... longan by China increases substantially. Typically, the export volume of ... longan is lower,” she said.

The Spring Festival falls on February 10 this year.

Say Sophat, director of the Pailin provincial agriculture department, said that following the fulfilment of the Cambodia-China Longan Phytosanitary Protocol for fresh longan on October 31, 2022, the company immediately began exporting the fruit to China.

He noted that in December 2023, farmers sold longans at prices ranging from 3,000 to 3,600 riel ($0.735 to $0.882) per kilogramme, which were considered favourable rates.

“The firm had agreed to purchase them from farmers at a steady rate of 3,600 riel [$0.882] per kg. In 2023, export prices to China decreased by about 40 per cent compared to 2022. The inflationary pressures in China led to tightened spending there. With the Lunar New Year imminent, the firm placed more orders for longan than usual,” he said.

The Cambodia-China Longan Phytosanitary Protocol for fresh longan was signed by the agriculture ministry and China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on March 16, 2022.

According to the General Department of Agriculture, in 2023, longans worth $24.76 million were exported, totalling 17,497 tonnes. Of these, 17,380 tonnes were exported to China, valued at $24.594 million and 116.7 tonnes to Vietnam, valued at $165,116.

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

The most renowned variety is the Pailin longan, named after the Kingdom’s second-smallest province by area, which borders Chanthaburi and Trat of Thailand.

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