Growing longan fruit with the clean energy revolving fund

Mr. Seng Sokhom is the owner of a longan fruit farm in Rattanak Modul district of Battambang province. The longan fruit is a well-loved and popular fruit with the Cambodian and Asian people in general. Sokhom began to grow longan in 2007/2008. The farm comprises 25 hectares of land and about 3500 longan trees. Mr. Sokhom harvests longan fruits three times per year, in March, October and December. When longan trees become more mature, the farm is able to produce more fruit.. The fruit production is expected to increase 30 percent each year with proper irrigation and treatment. Mr. Sokhom sells the longan fruits through wholesalers, who usually transport it to Thailand, where it gets stored and packed before going to China. Mr. Sokhom says longan fruit can be sold for between 1000USD and 1300USD per tonne. In December 2016, he sold 45 tonnes of best graded longan to wholesalers, earning 1000USD per tonne.

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Mr. Sokhom’s farm is grid-connected but the grid is unreliable in that location, with power cuts sometimes lasting for weeks. To increase good quality longan production, reliable water supply is essential. Although Mr. Sokhom had considered a solar powered water pumping system as a possible solution, he had very limited knowledge of the technology and requested Nexus check and comment on his proposed technology purchase. Nexus helped to independently review the technology provider’s product and quotation.

After deciding to purchase a system and being approved for a CERF (Clean Energy Revolving Fund) loan to fund the purchase, Mr. Sokhom is very happy. He says the solar pump is reliable and working well. The system’s pumping capacity is about 40m3 of water per day. The solar pump helps him maintain the farm’s daily water use and he estimates a cost saving of around 980 USD per year. In 2017, Mr. Sokhom aimed to produce 150 tonnes of high grade longan fruits. By March 2017 he had already produced over 60 tonnes.

Mr. Sokhom’s example is interesting because, despite his farm being grid-connected, the solar water pump investment has proven to be extremely beneficial. It also demonstrates CERF’s innovation and value in providing critical access to finance for an underserved market segment, as well as Nexus’ role as a trusted broker in supporting the farmer’s decision to invest.

 – This blog was written by Sarou Long.
Sarou Long specializes in climate change and natural resource management, with a focus on community engagement. He is the Program Officer at Nexus, where he supports projects and programs that match Nexus financial services.

Nexus Clean Energy Revolving Fund (CERF) provides affordable financing to small and medium enterprises in the agrifood sector of Cambodia to adopt clean energy technologies. The goal of the program is to increase the productivity and help producers, processors and distributors compete in the regional economy. The CERF is made possible through grant contributions from the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), the Austrian government and the Blue Moon Fund.