Cambodia expects Thailand to allow Pailin longan imports into its market as usual, after China on August 17 partially lifted a ban on Thai longan that it imposed four days earlier over contamination with mealybugs.
Beijing on August 17 gave 56 Thai longan sorting and packaging companies the nod to resume exports of the fruit to China, according to the Bangkok Post.
Mallika Boonmeetrakook, adviser to Thai Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, on August 18 said the 56 firms had records of low pest prevalence, and were among the 75 banned – nine of which had been barred since March.
The remaining 19 firms could keep shipping longan to China if Beijing determines that their methods to manage pests are “effective”, she said as reported by Bangkok Post.
Longan – also known by the botanical name Dimocarpus longan – is a tropical evergreen tree species native to Asia that produces edible fruit of the soapberry family, which also includes lychees and rambutan. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, in Cambodia the fruit is mostly grown in the provinces of Pailin and Battambang, and in parts of Preah Vihear province.
Pailin Longan Association (PLA) vice-chairman Suon Chum told The Post on August 19 that no Thailand-based Chinese company had yet to place an order with the association’s members or inquire into striking a collaborative partnership.
“I am elated that China has allowed Thailand to export longan again. If we can get groups entering into understandings with Cambodia, we could have some breathing air.
“The ongoing movement to buy longan from locals could partially alleviate the burden,” he said, referring to a government purchasing initiative and a domestic campaign to buy longan from farmers in the seven provinces bordering Thailand, launched by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a bid to save tonnes of the fruit from spoiling.
Chum hopes Thailand will allow Cambodian longan to enter the country before peak harvest season in November.
“I’m concerned that if Thailand continues to ban our Khmer longan until November, the peak harvest season, we could face market shortages again, and the government wouldn’t be able to buy up all the edible crop,” he said. “Thailand allowing some exports would mitigate some of the burden.”
PLA members grow Pailin longan on 2,900ha in Pailin, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey. The harvest typically occurs from August to end-December, and production is expected to reach 50,000 tonnes this year.