Markets ripen for dragonfruitUpdate: 1/14/2013
Dragon fruit has taken the lead in Vietnamese fruit exports, recording the highest growth and value last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Exports were worth about US$150 million, an increase of more than 40 per cent over 2011 and comprised about 45 per cent of the country's total fruit exports. Vietnamese-grown dragon fruit is now sold in more than 30 countries and territories.
Exports to China more than doubled in volume (107 per cent) and value (176.5 per cent). The Korean rates were 136 per cent and 114 per cent, respectively. Besides traditional markets in China, Thailand, Indonesia and Holland, Vietnamese dragon fruit has now penetrated Chile, Brunei and Greenland.
The average export price was at $539.5 per tonne, 6 per cent higher than last year. The highest prices were $4,500 per tonne to Russia, and $3,600-3,630 per tonne to Japan, $2,760 to the US, $2,160 to Canada and $2,100 to Britain. China was the biggest dragon fruit importer from Viet Nam, however, price were lowest at only about $396 per tonne.
In August, dragon fruit became the first Vietnamese fruit allowed to be shipped directly to the US without prior radiation tests. The tests are now held after arrival. The US Patent and Trademark Office has also recognised "Binh Thuan dragon fruit" as the name for fruit from Binh Thuan Province. It is the country's largest dragon-fruit producer with total planting of more than 16,000ha and an output of 600,000 tonnes per year.
According to the ministry, dragon fruit will continue to prosper this year. However, to expand markets, more fruit must meet international standards, such as GlobalGAP, VietGap and EuroGap.
According to Tran Ngoc Hiep, director of Hong Hau Dragon Fruit Farm Company Ltd in Binh Thuan Province, exporters should complete production processes according to international standards and then transfer these advanced techniques to growers.
Tran Huu Danh, director of Long Viet Company in Tien Giang Province said exporters must be careful to maintain quality and prestige. The GAP Agriculture Joint Stock Company recently begun to export dried dragon fruit to the US, creating an opportunity for value adding.