Domestic companies have started buying excess dragonfruit from farmers in Binh Thuan in a bid to assist in sales.
At the end of the harvest, farmers in Ham Minh commune in south-central Binh Thuan province still had 1,500 tonnes of dragonfruit in stock as Chinese buyers have stopped importing. Price fell as a result, to a low of VND1,000 ($0.04) per kilo for high-quality fruit and VND500 ($0.02) for low-quality fruit. Some households left their fruit on their farm, while others hired trucks to transport them to Ho Chi Minh City and sold them on the street for VND10,000 ($0.45) for four kilos.
In response, domestic enterprises have bought the fruit to support the farmers. After one week nearly 1,000 tons of dragonfruit were sold, according to one company selling them. It is expected that the remainder will be sold over the next ten days. As transport costs differ based on location, so do prices. In Hanoi dragonfruit are selling for VND10,000 ($0.45) a kilo, in Da Nang VND8,000 ($0.36), and in north-central Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces VND7,000 ($0.32). These enterprises are not selling dragonfruit in Ho Chi Minh City because it will create competition with farmers.
Besides retail selling, enterprises also do business with other companies. For example, one is working with a beverage business in Da Nang and sell dragonfruit for use as a raw material.
It is also researching methods to keep the fruit fresh for export to ASEAN countries, receiving interest from one Singaporean importer. To prepare for sales over the long term it is building a processing plant in Quy Nhon in south central Binh Dinh province with a capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 tons per day.
The difficult thing for all enterprises, it said, is that production capacity in provinces is unclear. “Sometimes we are told that there are tens of thousands of tonnes in stockpile, but when we start buying them the stockpile is actually in the hundreds of thousands of tonnes ,” its CEO said.