The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has plans to boost durian production by expanding plantation land, strengthening the standard plant and forming a durian farmer association with the aim of increasing capacity of production for supplies in the domestic markets and exports.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said on Saturday that having seen durian plantations have a potential market, the ministry has worked to compile policies to help boost the fruit’s production.
“Durian planting in Cambodia has potential because of the many durian lovers locally supporting and recognising the quality and food safety of durians planted in Cambodia,” Sakhon said.
The price of locally planted durians is higher than imported ones, according to Sokhon, citing that farmers earn revenue from durian plantations of $10,000 to $20,000 per hectare per year.
Under the policies, the ministry is planning and setting objectives on expanding durian plantation and other fruits that have potential in the local market and abroad, conducting research at durian and other fruit centres to provide varieties to farmers and to teach producers technical plantation skills.
The ministry plans to create durian and other fruit associations to boost production that follows required standards in the market, to encourage the private sector to invest in the fruit-processing sector to boost production chains and supply to domestic and international markets, as well as to create a Federation of Cambodian Agro-Industry to support, encourage and boost agricultural sector development, agro-industry and agri-business in Cambodia.
Although the crop provides a high income, it requires a significant amount of investment and needs proper technical knowledge about planting skills.
“If farmers expand durian plantations or form a cooperative, durians will add much income to the economy,” he said.
A fruit vendor in Phnom Penh Thmey area, Sous Kunthy, underlined that the price of locally planted durian is higher than durian imports. Domestic durian is priced between 28,000 riels ($7.50) and 30,000 riels per kilogramme (kg) while imported product costs less than 20,000 riels per kg..
“The price of locally planted durian is high because of quality. It has a unique sweet taste and it is difficult to plant,” he said.
Durian is an acquired taste. Some compare its foul-smelling flesh to the aroma of mouldy socks and rotten eggs, but for fans it is the “king of fruits”.
Cambodia currently has 5,289 hectares of durian plantations with a yield per year of 36,656 tonnes.
Durian is planted in the provinces of Kampot, Kampong Cham, Koh Kong and Battambong.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.