The Battambang provincial agriculture department reports that a significant 60 per cent of Samlot durians, totalling 300 tonnes, have already been reaped from the 417ha dedicated to cultivation in Samlot district this July.

Heng Sithy, an expert from the department, confirmed on July 2 that this year’s harvest broadly mirrors those of previous years.

“This year’s durian harvest was not much different from the previous years, which is typically around more than 5,000 tonnes,” he said.

The prevailing cost of pungent fruit ranges between 13,000 to 15,000 riel ($3.15 to $3.65) per kilogramme. Sithy noted that this price fluctuates based on the variety of durian and where it was procured. Particularly, Samlot district cultivates durians on a total of 546ha, with 417ha being harvested and generating more than 12 tonnes per hectare.

“Generally, the durian harvesting season may end by the end of July. The climate change does not have significant impact on durian. The kind of Monthong durian, which has good taste, is the most expensive one among other kinds,” he said of the top-notch durian variety that has small, hard seeds and known for its mild aroma and delectable taste.

Nay Chorn, president of Samlout Durian Cluster, reiterated that this year’s yield closely mirrors the last, estimating 300 to 400 tonnes harvested annually across approximately 20 plantations owned by cluster members. So far, the cooperative has successfully harvested about half the produce.

Chorn highlighted that Phnom Penh is the main marketplace for their durians, supplemented by sales within Battambang province and direct purchases from tourists visiting plantations in Samlot commune.

In terms of export potential, Chorn revealed that they had liaised with companies in Thailand, China and from within Cambodia that expressed interest in bulk purchases.

But supply constraints sparked concerns.

“The Samlout Durian Cluster has been discussing with members many times about the export of durian to China as they questioned us about how much we can supply per year. They need a detailed data,” he said.

While the taste and quality of Samlot durians have found favour with prospective exporters, there remain apprehensions about fulfilling contractual obligations.

“Most members are worried if we cannot supply them according to the contract. On the other hand, in terms of supply and phytosanitary requirements, the Chinese side needs us to improve, which requires a lot of capital expenditure,” Chorn said.