Viet Nam News
BẾN TRE — The price of fruit saplings in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre has increased significantly as many young trees were damaged by saline intrusion during the dry season, creating high demand among low supply.
In Chợ Lách District, the province’s largest fruit sapling cultivation area, saplings of rambutan, green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit have sold at prices two to three times higher than in the same period last year.
The price of avocado seeds has doubled to VNĐ15,000 (US$0.7) each, and rambutan saplings to VNĐ110,000 ($5), compared to VNĐ40,000 last year.
Đoàn Văn Long, who produces saplings in Chợ Lách, said traders were even buying immature rambutan saplings for VNĐ70,000 each.
Long was able to save only half of his saplings this year because he mistakenly used saline water to irrigate some of his saplings.
Despite the damages, Long earned higher profits this year.
“I plan to expand my sapling production next year and take steps to prevent saline intrusion,” he said.
The demand for many kinds of fruit saplings doubled compared to one month ago as the delta entered the rainy season and farmers began planting saplings.
The supply of some kinds of saplings like durian, jackfruit and rambutan, however, has not met demand.
Trần Hồng Hạnh, owner of the Tấn Hiền Fruit Sapling Producing and Trading Establishment in Chợ Lách, said every year she supplied about 50,000 saplings of various kinds to the delta, Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands), and the northern regions.
This year, she could only supply 10,000 saplings.
The price of saplings is expected to increase in the coming time because of the supply scarcity, according to sapling shops that sell to farmers.
Lê Ngọc Thịnh, a sapling trader from the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Đắk Lắk, said he had received sapling purchase orders from many fruit orchard owners in Đắk Lắk but could not fulfill all the orders.
Thịnh said that after spending a week in Chợ Lách he was able to buy only half of the quantity he needed.
Many sapling producers in Chợ Lách have sped up production because of the current high prices.
Bùi Thanh Liêm, head of the Chợ Lách District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the high prices of saplings could have “an adverse impact on sapling production years later as fruit farmers invest unconditionally in sapling production”.
Meanwhile, farmers might switch from growing fruits to saplings, causing an adverse impact on zoned fruit cultivation areas, he said.
In the dry season, drought and salt water intrusion caused a damage of VNĐ60 billion ($2.7 million) to sapling and fruit cultivation, according to the Chợ Lách District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
About 500ha of fruit, including rambutan, mangosteen and rambutan, were damaged, either partially or completely. Some fruit orchard owners have decided to cut down damaged rambutan trees to grow new ones.
Chợ Lách normally has fresh water year round, but saltwater intrusion in the district in the dry season damaged fruit orchards and sapling production.
The district farmers produce about 17 million fruit saplings a year. — VNS