Dragon fruit growers in Binh Thuan Province are grappling with a bumper crop after prices tumble by up to 70 percent compared to the previous week as Chinese traders suddenly refrain from buying the farm produce.
Farmers in the province now sell their crop for a mere 7,000 dong a kilo compared to 20,000 dong a kilo a week ago, while Vietnamese traders also claim they are poised to suffer huge losses due to the stonewalled trade.

Pham Huu Le, a farmer in Ham Chinh Ward of the province’s Ham Thuan Bac District, told the Daily on Monday he was preparing to collect his ripe dragon fruit, only to be overwhelmed by the bad news.

Bumper crop and poor price

“The situation is similar to last year when we were prepared for the main crop and then the price dropped suddenly. I think this year we will face the same problem of ‘good crop-poor price’ like in the past,” Le told the Daily.
He is worried that his one-hectare dragon fruit farm would yield no profit at all this year if the selling price remains dampened like now.

Truong Minh Tuan, owner of Tam Huong Company in Phan Thiet City, told the Daily on Monday that his company would surely incur a loss of some 50 percent on sales when exporting dragon fruit to China these days because of the sagging price.
Each day, Tuan’s company exports to China some 50 tons of dragon fruit, and despite the bad price, his company is trying to release all the stockpiled fruit for fear of further price downward.
Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association says the province has around 13,000 hectares under dragon fruit cultivation to supply some 450,000 tons a year.

Nguyen Ngoc Hai, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the Daily that over 70 percent of the province’s dragon fruit output is exported to China.
The repetition of ‘good crop-poor price’ seems to be ahead since the dragon fruit for the most parts are exported to China in small amounts, while the price downtrend could be manipulated by Chinese traders at the border towns.
“The sudden drop of the dragon fruit price could have resulted from the price manipulation by the Chinese traders at the border gate,” Hai said.

A new channel in need

Hai suggested that farmers and traders in the province need to tightly cooperate with each other to seek more stable and prestigious fruit buyers in China to avoid the repetition of ‘good crop-poor price’ in the coming time.
The problem is not because of the falling demand for dragon fruit in China, but rather the absence of a new mechanism to sell the farm produce to consumers, says a local trade official.
Nguyen Van Hoi, deputy director of the Department for Mountainous Region Trading of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the steep fall in dragon fruit prices in recent days could have been caused by China’s border traders’ price squeezing. “It is not due to the falling demand for fruits from China,” he said.

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