High-quality dragon fruit varieties crucial to boosting exports

Vietnam should develop quality varieties and improve cultivation techniques if the country wishes to bolster shipments of dragon fruits, experts said at a seminar held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Embassy of New Zealand in Vietnam on June 5.

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Dragon fruit has been cultivated on 54,000 hectares in Binh Thuan, Long An and Tien Giang provinces. (Photo: VNA)

According to PhD Tran Thi Oanh Yen, Deputy Head of Southern Horticultural Research Institute, Vietnam holds huge potential for dragon fruit production; however, poor varieties and planting techniques have put economic efficiency from the fruit at bay.

Yen also said that improper investment in post-harvest technology has resulted in high losses and low food safety and hygiene.

Thanks to a project funded by the New Zealand Government for 2013-2020, Vietnam has gradually developed high-quality dragon fruit varieties.

PhD Michael Lay-Yee from the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research said that the project aims to develop the economy sustainably via branching out new varieties, applying advanced production models, and upgrading post-harvest treatment system.

Several varieties are being piloted they will be chosen for commercialisation to improve economic efficiency, he said.

New Zealand experts suggested Vietnam invests in new varieties to sustainably develop the fruit sector in the context of fierce competition in the global market.

Tran Kim Long, Deputy Head of MARD’s international cooperation department, said that dragon fruits are among the 12 important fruits in Vietnam and have competitive edge in the global market. 

Dragon fruit has been cultivated on 54,000 hectares in Binh Thuan, Long An and Tien Giang provinces. It has made up more than 36 percent of the total fruit shipments, with a total export value of 1.1 billion USD in 2018.

As Vietnam targets to gain 3.6 billion USD from fruit exports by 2020, the country has worked out many programmes and measures to rearrange production and branch out large markets.

VNA

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