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Rescue efforts not the right response to repeated glut in dragon fruit

Last update: 15:54 | 10/10/2018

Binh Thuan dragon fruit has seen its prices plummet to VND500-VND1,000 a kilo now from VND25,000 two weeks ago, sending farmers to a fresh but repeated agony. Many people suggest it is necessary to map out more effective measures to avoid the vicious cycle of sagging prices versus abundant supply as rescue efforts have proved ineffective, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.


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Dragon fruit displayed at a fair in HCMC



Piles of dragon fruit are now often seen abandoned on sidewalks in Binh Thuan Province’s two largest dragon fruit growing districts, Ham Thuan Bac and Ham Thuan Nam. Some other localities such as Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang provinces are witnessing a similar problem.

Binh Thuan Province is the country’s largest supplier of dragon fruit for domestic consumption and export, with an area of over 27,000 hectares under dragon fruit cultivation that turns out 600,000 tons of dragon fruit per year, mainly for export to China. However, the province and other localities have incurred losses from the glut of dragon fruit since China and Cambodia also have a high domestic supply. As a result, Vietnam’s dragon fruit exports have come to a standstill.

The relevant agencies have yet to present any solutions to help farmers overcome the hardship. However, many rescue efforts have emerged in some localities. Numerous residents, enterprises and supermarkets have provided a helping hand, with some enterprises buying tons of dragon fruit at double or triple the current market price.

Doan Diep Binh, head of PR and events at Lotte Mart, said on October 8 that the retailer was running a program to help farmers sell Binh Thuan dragon fruit at a higher price. Lotte Mart supermarkets across the nation, including HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Vung Tau, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang and Danang, will purchase five to seven tons of dragon fruit between October 9 and 14, according to the supermarket representative.

Besides this, Lotte Mart also called on its employees, customers and partners to purchase dragon fruit grown in the current crop to boost consumption and help farmers avoid losses.

Do Quoc Huy, marketing director of the Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives, known as Saigon Co.op, stated that the store chain operator is planning rescue efforts for dragon fruit farmed in Binh Thuan Province and some localities in the Mekong Delta region.

Huy, however, said that this was a temporary measure, adding that it is necessary to present efficient solutions to resolve the chronic problem, ensure a stable income for farmers and make farm produce prices steady and reasonable in the market.

Huy also proposed some measures to avoid oversupply and low consumption of farm produce, including suitable regional planning for the crop in accordance with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s instructions, investing in a fruit value chain for export and processing, and boosting export to more markets besides China.

Le Van Tien, deputy director of HCMC-based Hoc Mon Wholesale Market, remarked that Vietnamese farm produce needs to access a variety of customers to ensure strong consumption and avoid depending on a single major customer.

Phan Dinh Khiem, deputy chairman of the Binh Thuan Cooperative, said some households in Binh Thuan Province had sold dragon fruit at a high price and had a stable consumption market. He explained that because farmers join the cooperative to form a supply chain, their production is based on orders, resulting in a good price and strong consumption.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Co., Ltd, said that the company is still buying dragon fruit from farmers at a price of VND16,000 per kilogram for white-flesh dragon fruit and VND24,000 per kilogram for red-flesh dragon fruit to ship stateside.

The condition attached to this purchase is that farmers are required to join a chain connected with the company and to apply manufacturing processes in line with U.S. standards, Tung stated.

SGT

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