Dragon fruit prices increase by 50% as supply nosedives

By Hong Chau   May 7, 2024 | 11:57 pm PT
Traders are buying grade 1 dragon fruit at the farm gate for VND45,000 (US$1.8) per kilogram, 50% higher than a year ago, amid a drought that has hit output.

Grade 2 prices are VND35,000-40,000.

Farmers are earning profits of VND250-400 million per hectare. However, Luan in Binh Thuan said this year’s output decreased by 20% over the same period last year, so after deducting costs, his family only made a profit of VND50 million after selling 2.5 tons of dragon fruit.

A dragon fruit orchard in the central province of Binh Thuan. Photo by Minh Hoa

A dragon fruit orchard in the central province of Binh Thuan. Photo by Minh Hoa

Ho Nam, a trader in Binh Thuan, said dragon fruit demand exceeds supply, resulting in higher prices. He only manages to buy one to two tons a day compared to three to four tons a year ago, he said. "This year’s intense heat and drought have caused many orchards to dry out and trees to die, causing output to drop by 20-30%."

Prices are up VND10,000-15,000 per kilogram from February, but would decrease when the fruit enters the main harvest season, he added.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said between December and May China imports more dragon fruits to meet its demand, and so prices rise during this period.

Another reason for the rising prices is that less dragon fruit is being grown in Vietnam after farmers switched to other crops such as durian and jackfruit in 2023 when prices fell sharply.

Data from customs shows dragon fruit exports in the first two months of this year increased by nearly 10% year-on-year to $117 million. Major markets included China, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.

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