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Cambodia scrambles to shield fruit farmers from COVID blow

Strict border controls and sanitary issues crimp longan exports to Thailand

People sell fruit at a market in Phnom Penh on June 15. The country's farmers are bracing for export disruption due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.   © EPA/Jiji

PHNOM PENH -- Harvest season is always a tense time for Cambodian longan farmer Oeum Raksa, but this year the 31-year-old is particularly nervous.

Even in normal circumstances, Raksa has less than three days after picking the tropical tree-growing fruit to sell to wholesalers. These buyers then must quickly move it to processing factories in Thailand to prolong its shelf life.

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