- May 6, 2022 2:10 PM
- August 8, 2019 3:32 AM
- May 25, 2020 10:44 AM
PHNOM PENH -- Farmers from indigenous communities in Mondulkiri province say they are not able to sell their avocado crop right now to the point that some villagers have left their avocados on the ground instead of harvesting them.
Now being the end of the season, they can only sell for 1,300 to 2,000 riels (around $0.33 to $0.50) per kilogram, said Pheara, a Phnong of Putrom III village in the Romnea commune of Sen Monorom city.
In previous years, there were always traders who would come to buy when the harvest season came, Pheara said. Traders would negotiate quantities and prices, which they did as usual in 2021, she said.
But this year, there has not been a single trader, Pheara said. "We don't know why [but] this year, we cannot sell avocados,” she said. “When we try to sell at the market, no one buys.”
Mika, a young woman who sells avocados at a Monorom city market, said that avocadoes sold for a very low price and were therefore disregarded on the market.
“Our avocados are natural but not as good as exported avocados,” she said. “Some buyers said our avocados are small, which is not good, and so they should not be too expensive. So, I sell at a cheap price and there are very few buyers."
A villager who asked not to be named said that, since avocados cannot be sold locally this year and she does not know where else to sell them, she uses them to feed pigs.
With an expression of sadness on her face, she said that, every year, villagers expect buyers. But if there is no buyer, they use avocados to feed cows and chickens. “Another thing: The buyers always mock us before buying,” she said. “So, I decided to leave it.”
However, Sok Kheang, director of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Mondulkiri province, said that he had not received any information regarding the lack of market for avocados.
There are more than 400 hectares of avocados in the province and the fruits are being sold in several provinces and especially Phnom Penh, which enables people to earn an income through avocados, he said.
Kheang went on to say that the average price of avocados per kilogram ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 riel (about $1 to $2), depending on their quality. There is no challenge such as no market for avocados since they are grown in such small quantity, Kheang said.
“It seems like there are no challenges [selling them] yet as the products are still [grown in] small quantity and we cannot supply the demand,” he said.
As for growers being unable to sell their avocados, Kheang said that the Department of Agriculture had not yet received any information to that effect.
The department is now working on getting avocado farmers together so they can contract with a company in Phnom Penh to sell their crops, he added.