Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Several supermarkets in HCM City are planning to help dragon fruit farmers in the central province of Bình Thuận sell their products at better than market prices.
The price in the province, the country’s largest producer of the fruit, has plummeted in the last two weeks from VNĐ10,000-15,000 (US$0.43-0.64) a kilogramme to VNĐ700-2,000 due to bumper yields.
Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart plans to buy five to seven tonnes of the fruit from October 9 to 14 for its outlets in HCM City, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Vũng Tàu, Phan Thiết, Nha Trang, and Đà Nẵng.
Đoàn Diệp Bình, public relations and brand management team leader at Lotte Mart, said: "Lotte Mart buys dragon fruit weighing at least 450gm and without grey spots on its skin at the farm for VNĐ5,000-7,000 and sells at VNĐ5,900 at Lotte Mart Nha Trang and Phan Thiết and VNĐ8,000 at other places.”
It will also step up promotions to increase consumption, and call on all its employees and partners to buy more of the fruit.
Đỗ Quốc Huy, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, said Saigon Co.op also plans to buy dragon fruit from Bình Thuận and some provinces in the Cửu long Delta.
But experts said these rescue efforts can only be a short-term measure, and the agriculture sector should find proper solutions to resolve the situation and ensure a steady income for farmers and reasonable value for their produce.
Localities should have clear zoning plans for dragon fruit cultivation and develop the value chain for the fruit with the participation of distributors and exporters to enable more exports, they said.
Besides, export markets need to be diversified to avoid too much reliance on the Chinese market, which buys 90 per cent of Việt Nam’s fresh dragon fruit exports, they said.
Farmers who are members of co-operatives and formed a demand-supply “linkage chain” for the fruit are still managing to sell their dragon fruits at high prices and have steady markets, according to Phạm Đình Khiêm, vice chairman of the Bình Thuận Co-operative Alliance.
When they are part of production-consumption linkage chains, farmers do not produce randomly and instead base it on orders and partners’ technical requirements.
Thus, their products enjoy steady prices and demand.
Nguyễn Đình Tùng, general director of Vina T&T Import Export Service Trading Company, said his company was buying dragon fruit from farmers at VNĐ16,000 per kilogramme (white meat variety) and VNĐ24,000 in case of red meat for export to the US.
The stipulations for buying are that farmers have to join the linkage chain with his company and apply farming methods that meet US standards.
Export to China
Asked about reports that China had stopped buying Vietnamese dragon fruits, Hoàng Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department, said department officials personally went to the China border and saw that exports continuing normally.
"Thirteen thousand tonnes of fresh dragon fruits are exported to China every day through border gates in the north. The border quarantine procedures and regulations for dragon fruit remain normal, there is no change on either side."
But the department had called on farmers to focus more on improving quality since China was raising its hygiene and food safety and traceability requirements for fresh fruits, he added. — VNS