Purple star apple prices skyrocket

By Thi Ha   November 14, 2023 | 06:38 pm PT
Purple star apple prices skyrocket
Purple star apples sold in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha
Purple star apples, popular both in Vietnam and its export markets, have seen prices rise by 30-40% from a year ago.

The fruit is in season and sells in markets and stores for VND90,000-100,000 (US$3.58-3.97) per kilogram for type 1 (the highest quality), a 40% increase from a year ago, and VND40,000-50,000 for types 2 and 3.

Oanh, who runs a fruit store on Pham Van Hai Street in HCMC’s Tan Binh District, said the star apples this year are bigger, of better quality and more eye-catching. "Every day I pick up 50 kilograms and sell them all. During holidays the demand is doubled, but there is not enough supply."

According to Hanh, a wholesaler at the Thu Duc Agricultural Product Market, type 1 is in short supply. "Every day I procure more than one ton but it is not enough to supply wholesalers. Purple star apple is very scarce at the beginning of the season."

A recent VnExpress survey of fruit farmers in Can Tho City and Soc Trang Province found that the highly sought-after fruit is 50% more expensive than last year at VND28,000-35,000 per kilogram.

Phong, who owns a half-hectare orchard in Can Tho Province, expects to make profits of VND250 million, double the previous season’s. "This year not only is there a bountiful purple star apple harvest, but the price is also skyrocketing."

Similarly, farmers in Soc Trang Province, dubbed the "purple star apple capital" of western Vietnam, are overjoyed that exporters are buying their fruit at VND45,000 per kilogram. One-hectare orchards are making profits of VND500-700 million this year.

Su Quoc Loc, director of the Loc Mai Agriculture Cooperative, which specializes in the fruit, said export prices of fresh star apples are 13% higher from a year ago and domestic prices, 50%.

The cooperative’s members own 47 orchards that meet VietGAP quality standards, 60% of them more than one hectare.

Loc attributed the rising prices to increasing exports to the U.S. and China.

This year, instead of rushing to harvest, which leads to a spike in supply and fall in price, fruit growers have learned to stagger their harvest.

As a result, the star apple season, which usually lasts from November to January, could extend all the way to April. This method provides a more stable supply and maintains high prices.

Star apples are mainly being harvested in the Can Tho City and Tien Giang and Soc Trang provinces, according to data from the Plant Protection Department.

Tien Giang is notable with over 3,000 ha while Soc Trang Province has 2,300 ha, both with different varieties of star apple, such as purple, Lo Ren and pink butter.

The purple variety is highly valued due to its exquisite shape and is available year-round.

Star apple is exclusively a Vietnamese export and imported by China and the U.S., with prices paid by the latter reaching nearly VND500,000 per kilogram at one point.

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