|A grapefruit orchard is planted under organic standards in Sông Xoài Commune in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province’s Phú Mỹ Town. – VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Nhị|
BÀ RỊA - VŨNG TÀU – Farmers in Sông Xoài Commune in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province’s Phú Mỹ Town are concerned about poor profits from grapefruit harvested for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival which falls on February 1.
Sông Xoài Commune, which has the largest grapefruit growing area in the southern province, will enter the harvest grapefruit season next month.
The price of grapefruit is low, but the cost of fertilisers and pesticides is high. In addition, the outlets of grapefruit are unstable because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local farmers.
Nguyễn Văn Lưu, who has a 10ha green skin and pink flesh grapefruit orchard in Sông Xoài’s Phước Bình Hamlet, said that even though the price of grapefruit is low at VNĐ12,000 - 17,000 (52 – 74 US cent) a kilogramme, it is difficult to sell.
The prices of fertiliser and pesticides have increased by 30 – 40 per cent against the same period last year, he said. His family’s profit from growing grapefruit has declined significantly.
This year, local farmers treated grapefruit trees to bloom at the end of lunar April. However, there was a lot of rain during that time, so many grapefruit flowers fell off, causing a decline in output.
Lưu estimates he will harvest only 12 tonnes of grapefruit for the upcoming Tết, down 6 tonnes against the last Tết.
Nguyễn Minh Tuấn, who uses organic growing standards for his 1ha grapefruit orchard in Sông Xoài, said he is concerned about unstable outlets and the low price of grapefruit for Tết.
When the province implemented social distancing to fight the COVID – 19 pandemic in July, the price of green skin and pink flesh grapefruit fell to VNĐ7,000 – 14,000 a kilogramme and farmers could not sell the fruit. Local authorities had to call on local consumers to help farmers sell the fruit.
At current prices of green skin and pink flesh grapefruit at VNĐ12,000 – 17,000 a kilogramme, farmers who use chemical fertilisers and pesticides will not see a profit, Tuấn said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, unstable outlets and declining selling prices have caused concern among farmers about sales for Tết,” he said.
Sông Xoài is well known for its high-quality green skin and pink flesh grapefruit. The fruit is often in high demand during Tết.
Hồ Hoàng Kha, deputy director of the Sông Xoài Green Skin and Pink Flesh Grapefruit Co-operative, said the declining price and high production costs for fertiliser and pesticide have caused problems for farmers.
To cope with unstable outlets and lower prices, many grapefruit owners in the commune are renovating their orchards and planning to switch to grapefruit grown under organic standards in the next crop.
The use of organic standards will help reduce the cost of fertilisers and pesticides and increase the quality of the grapefruit. Organic standard grapefruit has stable outlets and can be exported.
The Sông Xoài Green Skin and Pink Flesh Grapefruit Co-operative has 200ha of green skin and pink flesh grapefruit. Of the figure, nearly 100ha are planted under organic standards. – VNS