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Friday, January 15, 2010

Longan Technology in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Writer at University of Chiang Mai Longan Demonstration Farm
learn about the pruning and manuring system for E-Daw clones.

Longan (Dimocarpus longan) was a tropical tree native ti South East Asia under Sapindaceae family. It was large grown in Thailand and few neighbouring countries. Longan was producing a round fruit like "Dragon eyes" and sweet in taste. It consumes as fresh fruit and processed for canning and dried longan. I has experience in visit few longan tree in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia to enrich my knowledge. This article is to share an technical knowledge about longantechnology I gain from my visit to Thailand and my own study in Muar Johor as senior extension officer for amlost 25 years. A group of Senior Official from Pagoh MOA Inc was organised a Study Tour to Chiang Mai, Thailand on 2008 lead by Muar District Agriculture Officer. The team members are from DOA, MARDI, FAMA, DVS, Agro Bank, LPP/PPK, JPS and DOF. The trip was initiated by Technical Project Commitee to expose and gather technical information on Longan Technology, Agronomy Aspect, Grading and Market ting aspect and other commodities. Proposed visit program were Farmers Longan Farm, University of Chiang Mai Longan Farm, Bee Project, Agrobased Industry and Processing Project, Dairy Project , Bamboo Handicraft Center, Mulberry Farm, poultry Farm, Goat Project and Fishery Project. This article in "Anim Agro Technology" I share my knowledge based on study visit to Longan Farm at Chiang  Mai University farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The first visit is to Chiang Mai University to attend a lecture on Longan Industry in Thailand and Longan Technology by Prof. Pawin Manochai and Dr Sainarong Rasanaida. The lecture took about 2 hours include Question and Answer session before they organised a Longan Farm Plot Trip for 1.5 hours travel for hands-on training. During the lecture, they informed that Thailand has 56,720 hectare of Longan with total production about 186,800 metric ton in 2007. Prof. Manochai said the average production of longan in Northern Thailand about 3,262 mt/hectare. Thailand produce three types of longan end product that was Fresh Longan (101,35 mt), Dried Longan (28,234 mt), Frozen Longan (1,567mt) and Canned Longan (8,986 mt) in 2008. Canned longan mostly exported to Malaysia about 65%. There was 4 major cultivars grown in Thailand that was E-Daw, Sri Chompoo, Haew and Biew-Kiew. The E-Daw cultivar is the most accepted by local farmers to grow as major cultivars due to its potential yield , crop management and fruit quality. Technically the E-daw varieties was mixed in the farms with other varieties for pollination purposed for better quality.

Planting system are either triangle or normal square system. The initial pruning (formation) pruning system are critical during early growing stage. The pruning must designed as "Open Centered" system which the main trunk was cut and farmers has to train of balance branching. About 4 - 7 branch trained to as maximum height as farmers can manage the tree (About 5 - 6 feet tall). The unnecessary erected shoot (Tunas air) was removed for Horizontal Branching system. According to the Professor, the main problem in longan production was Alternate Bearing Characteristic (One Year OK, Next Year KO). This is due to the Natural Factor affecting floral induction (Flowering) that was Low Temperature and New Leaf Flushing. If new shoot came out , the flower wont come out.

This problem was solved by treatment of Calcium Citrate (KCIO3) chemical to the matured tree. Application of 10 gm.m2 of KCIO3 shows 10% bear flower after 25 days and 100% after 45 days. Application on 20 gm/m2 and 40 gm/m2 resulted 18% and 55% after 25 and 45 days respectively. Spraying on 40-45 day old leaves resulted 100% flowering result compare to spraying on 6-7 days old leaves only 7% success rate of flowering. The KCIO3 application was either bya Foliar Spraying or Direct Injection to the Trunk. Study shown that spraying KCIO3 on hot season less success rate (12.7% less) compare to Rainy Season and Cool season. Manuring program was intensively follow the package Longan Techonology. Trip to longan farm exposed the group with longan package technology applied in Northern Thailand.

The next trip was to the Bee Project that was on the Processing site and Exhibition Shop. The jungle bee honey collected during dry season and processed in the shop for various product. The product was pure honey (Priced at RM 200 /1 Liter), Pollen Bee, Wax, Royal Jelly and Ready to during Juice. We visit to Agrobased Project Industry about 200 km Northern Chiang Mai to see how durian chips, Sweets, dried fruit and other traditional Thailand product packed, grading and processed. The group also visit traditional Cattle Rearing Project, Pomelo Farms, Bamboo Processed Factory, Fish pond and Bamboo Shoot processing activity. The other interesting site visit were to the Golden Triangle (Border of Myanmar-Thailand-Laos), Long-Neck Traditional Village, Boat Viewing on Mekong River and Chiang Rai Town. We also visit Rock Processing Factory, Jade factory, Night market, Wet Market and Fruit Collection Center.

It was a cheap trip only RM 1,500 per head using Air Asia that fly to Chiang Mai regularly. Northern Thailand offered Agrotourism and Culture Tours to visitors. The study visit was a success trip for the group to gain more knowledge and explore great experience on Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai area. I hope more technical visit will be arranged to explore the longan processing activity. There is a lot of areas to improve longan growing industry in Malaysia.

The open centered pruning of Longan Tree.


Moh Anim
Senior Agronomist
Chiang Mai University
Chiang Mai
(Updated on 23 July 2013)

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