Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are suffering losses during the peak harvest season as prices of fruit have declined dramatically.
In Đồng Tháp Province, the price of longan sold at orchards has fallen to VNĐ10,000 (US 4.4 cents) a kilo compared to VNĐ30,000 ($1.3) early this year.
“At this price, farmers can not recover production costs," said Nguyễn Ngọc Việt, deputy of the Châu Thành District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau in Đồng Tháp.
The delta, the country’s largest fruit producer, is in the peak fruit harvest season and is faced with an oversupply.
The price of guava bought by traders in orchards has fallen under VNĐ1,000 a kilo compared to VNĐ9,000 – 10,000 a kilo during the same period of previous years.
Guava farmers have suffered a loss of VNĐ60 million ($2,600) per ha, according to farmers.
Nguyễn Hồng Châu, who has intercropped 500 guava trees in his longan orchard in Đồng Tháp’s Châu Thành District, has cut down many guava trees because of low prices.
“If the price is stable, I can continue planting guava trees for one or two crops, but at this price I have to cut down my guava trees.”
Nguyễn Văn Ba in Đồng Tháp’s Châu Thành District said he has cultivated fruit for more than 10 years, but has never seen the price as low as it is now.
In Cần Thơ Province, the price of Thai jackfruit has dropped from VNĐ45,000 – 50,000 a kilo in late February to VNĐ15,000 – 17,000 a kilo now.
In U Minh Thượng District, which is Kiên Giang Province’s largest banana planting area, the price of banana has fallen to VNĐ2,000 per bunch compared to VNĐ4,000 – 6,000 during the same period in previous years.
Nguyễn Văn Phương, who has 4ha of banana in U Minh Thượng District, said early this year he earned a profit of VNĐ80 million a month but the price of bananas and banana blossoms are half of what they were last year.
After deducting all production costs, he has been left with low profits.
In U Minh Thượng, many rice farmers have switched to plant banana, sugarcane and pineapple in recent years because they offered high profits.
Nguyễn Văn Tâm, director of the Kiên Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper that most agricultural products like sugarcane and pineapple in the province were facing a sharp price decline and it was difficult to find outlets.
Kiên Giang does not have a factory to process agricultural produce, so its farmers have to sell fruit directly to traders, which has contributed to the decline in price.
However, the delta’s specialty fruits which are planted under Vietnamese or global Good Agricultural Practice standards are in high demand and exported to several markets.
Dragon fruit, longan, mango, durian and watermelon are the country’s major fruit exports.
The country exported about US$1.7 billion of vegetables and fruit in the first five months of the year, up 19.7 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. — VNS