Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Many pineapple farmers in Tiền Giang Province’s Tân Phước District, the largest pineapple planting area in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, are taking losses because of fluctuating prices caused by an oversupply.
Nguyễn Xuân Hải, deputy head of the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development, said that pineapples were selling for VNĐ2,000 – 3,000 a kilo. Since mid-year, the price has ranged from VNĐ1,500 – 5,500 a kilo.
With the decline in price, farmers are now suffering a loss of VNĐ10-15 million (US$440-$660) per ha per crop.
The fruit has helped many farmers escape poverty in recent years.
Tân Phước’s Queen pineapples, one of the main varieties in Tiền Giang, are well-known for high quality.
The district has about 16,500ha of pineapples with an average yield of 20 tonnes per ha per crop. A pineapple crop lasts between 12-15 months.
Previously, the district’s pineapples were sold mostly to processing companies, but the quantity bought by companies is now small as the companies are buying from other places.
The pineapples are being sold mostly to traders, so the price has fluctuated.
Phạm Văn Mến, a pineapple trader in Tiền Giang, said he was buying nearly 100 tonnes of pineapples for VNĐ 2,200 – 2,500 a kilo a day.
He only sells pineapples to wholesale markets in nearby provinces, so the quantity is small, he said.
Đoàn Thị Điểm, who rents fields to plant pineapple in Tân Phước’s Thạnh Mỹ Commune, said she had borrowed more than VNĐ100 million ($4,400) to grow pineapples.
“I may have to cut down my pineapple plants and replant later,” she said, adding that she hopes the price will rise again.
As of the beginning of this month, Tân Phước had harvested 5,000ha with a total output of 100,000 tonnes of pineapples, according to the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
While local farmers are struggling to sell their pineapples, the demand for imported pineapples in the country is high despite their high price.
Bùi Công Thành, chairman of the Quyết Thắng Agricultural Co-operative in Tân Phước’s Tân Lập 2 Commune, said consumers like the imports because they are beautiful, have an even size and have been preserved well after harvest.
Tân Phước pineapples can only be kept for a few days after harvesting.
Võ Mai, deputy chairwoman of the Việt Nam Gardening Association, said domestic agricultural products in general have lower prices because farmers “chase after price” instead of carefully planning how much to grow.
Government agencies should strictly monitor and survey market demand to set up plans for farmers to grow agricultural products suitable to market demand, she told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper.
Companies should develop post-harvest technologies and invest in processing agricultural products to develop outlets for farmers, she said. – VNS