Last year, the country exported more than 1.1 billion USD of dragon fruit, accounting for about 30 per cent of the country’s total fruit and vegetable export value, according to the Vietnam Farmers Association.
Speaking at a recent seminar in the south-central province of Binh Thuan, Nguyen Xuan Đinh, deputy chairman of the association, said that China had begun cultivating dragon fruit and was raising standards for dragon fruit imports.
China is currently the main market for Vietnamese dragon fruit.
Binh Thuan and the Mekong Delta province of Long An and Tien Giang top the country in dragon fruit growing area.
Binh Thuan, the country’s largest dragon fruit producer, has nearly 30,000ha of dragon fruit. Of the figure, nearly 10,000ha are planted under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and more than 260ha under GlobalGAP standards.
However, the country’s dragon fruit production is largely unsustainable since many farms are small-scale and there is a lack of co-operation among stakeholders and seedling management.
Most dragon fruit growing areas are scattered and few of them use advanced farming techniques. In addition, the quality of seedlings has not been managed properly.
Evaluation of growing areas also needs to be done to identify the variety of dragon fruit suited to each area.
Mai Thanh Phung of the HCM City-based Tropical Agricultural Research and Consultancy Center said that localities should set up zoned growing areas and improve management to ensure sustainability.
Farmers should also establish co-operatives and work together to reach quality standards, and involve other stakeholders so that buyers and outlets can be guaranteed.
More trade promotions and favourable conditions for investment in dried dragon fruit and dragon fruit wine are needed as well.
Up to 80 per cent of the country’s dragon fruit is sold fresh and unprocessed.
The country produces an annual output of 660,000 tonnes of dragon fruit.