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Vietnamese Farmers Cut Down Orchards as Dragon Fruit Exports Slow

April 12, 2022

According to Vietnamese domestic media, the severe impact of COVID-19 restrictions on exports to China has caused local prices of Vietnamese dragon fruit to fall to their lowest level in years, with sales barely covering production costs. In an effort to minimize their losses, many Vietnamese farmers have reportedly been forced to cut down their orchards.

Binh Thuan province is the largest dragon fruit cultivation area in Vietnam, with approximately 33,000 hectares of land devoted to the fruit. Each year, the province harvests more than 700,000 tons of dragon fruit, of which 85% is exported, primarily to China.

Farmers in Binh Thuan province reportedly felled over 936 hectares of dragon fruit orchards in the first quarter of 2022 alone. Including the cuts made in 2021, the land area used for dragon fruit cultivation in Binh Thuan has already been reduced by 2,000 hectares, accounting for 6% of the province’s total cultivation area. Those that were cut down were mainly older plants or plots with lower yields.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Binh Thuan province said that the orchards were currently bearing fruit and advised farmers to exercise caution and restraint. Instead, the maintenance of existing orchards should continue and new production activities should be planned.

For the past few years, there has been a lack of order in the development of dragon fruit cultivation in Vietnam. According to the industry development plan, the planting area used for dragon fruit production was expected to reach 49,000 hectares by 2020. However, the cultivation area had already surpassed 65,000 hectares by this time, exceeding the original goal by over 30%.

The ministry stated that it would coordinate reviews of dragon fruit planting areas in various regions and give preference to professional operations in terms of funding and policies. The government will also provide further support for industry associations, the processing of products related to dragon fruit and new planting technologies.

Industry experts claim that Vietnam needs only to maintain 42,000 hectares of dragon fruit planting area and an annual output of approximately one million tons. Only by improving quality and processing capacity, ensuring food hygiene and safety, and increasing the proportion of organic dragon fruit can products with higher added value be created.

Image: Unsplash

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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