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Climate change may undermine Kingdom’s mango production

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A man carries mangoes in a boat in Lvea Em district’s Arey Ksat commune in Kandal province on September 6, 2018. Heng Chivoan

Climate change may undermine Kingdom’s mango production

Mango production is expected to decrease this year as climate change severely impacts yields, according to a mango association in Kampong Speu province – the Kingdom’s largest regional producer of the fruit.

Kampong Speu Mangoes Association president In Chayvan said the impact of climate change could reduce yields by around 50 per cent this year.

“Mango production this year will not be as good as last year as effects of climate change – too much rain and too much drought – will reduce yields this year,” he said, adding that the main yearly harvest will begin next month.

“Due to climate change, [mango] flowers were destroyed by too much rain and now there is drought coming. The ponds in some areas are slowly drying up,” he said.

Drought worries

The government last month issued a statement raising concerns of a drought, as El Nino threatens to cast a prolonged dry spell when it hits the Kingdom in April and May.

However, he said prices were currently rising faster than during the same period last year.

“The price is not fluctuating as much as last year. [We] are seeing more demand from Vietnamese buyers,” he said, adding that the association has made contracts with buyers in Vietnam this year at 1,500 riel ($0.37) per kg.

“The mango market is not a challenge for us as we already have a processing factory, so the demand for mangoes already exists,” he said. “What we need to do is promote the awareness of technical farming and building farmers’ confidence in the market through contract farming.”

The installation of a Hyundai-owned fruit treatment facility in Kampong Speu province was completed this month, with mangoes set for export to South Korea. The company plans to export 1,700 tonnes in its first year of operation.

Kim La, a Kampong Speu province mango farmer and an association members, said her 5ha mango farm yielded 60 tonnes in last season’s harvest.

However, she said yields will not increase this harvest season – starting from March – as the weather is currently too hot.

“I am now concerned about the coming season, as the weather is really hot and dry. I am afraid my mango trees cannot yield big fruit,” she said.

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