|Dragon fruit growers in Tam Vu Township's Duong Xuan Hoi Commune harvest fruit. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
LONG AN (VNS) — Dragon fruit (Thanh long) growers in the southern Ninh Thuan province are worried about the continuous fall in prices, although the main harvest will arrive only next month.
After the Tet Lunar New Year (February 19), the price of dragon fruit has fallen and was at its lowest five days ago.
The price of 1kg of dragon fruit fluctuated between VND7,000 and VND20,000, down one-third compared to its price in the months before Tet.
Tran Thanh Liem, a dragon fruit grower in Chau Thanh District's Tam Vu Township, said it was the harvest season on his family's two hectares, but the rapid fall in prices in recent days have made him worry.
"I feel great anguish at the losses, estimated to be VND60 million to VND70 million," he said.
Suffering from the same situation, Nguyen Van Vinh in Long Tri Commune of Chau Thanh District said he and several neighbouring orchard owners didn't want to harvest their fruit.
"Though the fruits are ripening, no trader has come to the gardens to buy them over the last one week," Vinh said.
"If the problems of storage and stagnating goods at the China-Viet Nam border gate aren't solved, the farmers will have to suffer the cost of falling prices and lack of consumption," he said.
Tran Quang An, chairman of the Tam Vu Dragon Fruit Co-operative, said the fall in dragon fruit prices happened because after Tet, there was a huge quantity of fruits in storage.
Since last week, the situation of over-supply has caused the fruits to stagnate in the border area.
"The fruit trucks are still being stopped at the border area, while the storage areas in fruit farms in Long An Province are overflowing," An said.
Dragon fruit is a fruit that cannot be kept fresh for a long time, forcing farmers to sell it at any price.
"My co-operative is still purchasing fruits from local farmers, but the price depends on the fluctuation in the export market," An said.
The price fluctuation has affected both the long-term growing plans and the income of the local farmers, Vo Mai, deputy head of Viet Nam Gardeners' Association, said.
Farmers should grow fruits in different periods to reduce stagnancy, he said. The dried-fruit processing industry needs to be developed to provide diversified products for both home and export markets.
The gardeners association will continue to set up technological training courses for dragon fruit growers, to help them meet the criteria for sending exports to Europe.
The fall in dragon fruit prices by VND11,000 per kg is also affecting farmers' income in the neighbouring province of Binh Thuan.
Farmer Tran Van Tam, in Ham Thuan Nam District's Ham Thanh Commune, said a huge amount of fruits was stagnating at the Chinese-Viet Nam border area.
"My family spent a large amount on the initial investment and care of 1,000 dragon fruit trees over four months," Tam said. "With the fall in prices, I estimated there would be no profit in this crop."
Local wholesale purchasers of fruits said the main export market of dragon fruit was China. The price fluctuation has been completely dependent on the Chinese traders at the border gate.
Thanh long is grown in 23,000ha in Binh Thuan now, with a productivity of 550,000 tonnes per year. — VNS