Lychee farmers suffer losses despite 50% price increase

By Thi Ha   May 26, 2024 | 01:46 am PT
Lychee farmers suffer losses despite 50% price increase
A lychee tree with few fruits. Photo provided to VnExpress
A poor lychee harvest in Vietnam's lychee production hub, northern Bac Giang Province, has led to financial losses for farmers, despite a 50% increase in the fruit's price.

Last year, the 40 lychee trees of Oanh's family were full of fruit, earning them revenues of VND150 million ($5,900). But fewer fruit this year dropped earnings to only VND100 million.

"I've been growing lychees for seven years, but I've never seen a year with such a poor harvest," Oanh said.

Anh Huy, also from Bac Giang, said all the lychee flowers were ruined following a period of rain. Production declined by over 90%, he added.

"This lychee season is entirely lost. No matter how high the prices might be, I will still lose money," he said.

Giang, from Thanh Son Commune, said his family's 5 ha of lychee would also see production dropping by 30% from last year. Even with prices increased 1.5 times higher than normal, the revenue would only be at around 80% compared to last year.

In other localities like Hung Yen, Hai Duong and the Central Highlands, lychee gardens are faring well, with production dropping to 50-60% of the same period last year.

Dong Thi Thu Huong, director of Minh Tien agriculture cooperative in Hung Yen, said 400 ha of lychees by the cooperative saw their production declining by half this year. While a kilogram of lychee was sold at VND15,000 last year, this year it could be VND25,000, she added.

"The estimated revenue this year of the cooperative would see a 20-30% drop compared to the same period last year, due to low production despite rising prices," Huong said.

The Hung Yen Department of Agriculture said lychee production in the province would see a 30% drop from last year, while Bac Giang said it would see a 50% drop.

Unstable weather patterns have contributed to poor harvest, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. In winter last year, average temperatures were around 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the previous year, affecting the development of lychee trees. Short cold periods and long-lasting rains in January and February this year also affected production.

Le Ba Thanh, vice director of the agriculture department of Bac Giang, said due to abundant harvests last year, there is not enough strength to guarantee a similarly strong harvest this year.

However Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of the Department of Crop Production, said rising prices may help offset low production, allowing farmers to net profits.

Export businesses said they are adjusting their plans due to low lychee production and rising prices. Mai Xuan Thin, director of the Red Dragon production, commerce and service company, said the firm is worried about potentially low supply as it plans to export to several countries this year.

"Besides Australia, we would export products to the U.S., Japan and Canada as well," he said.

Businesses said low supply and high demand may make Vietnamese lychees more difficult to be exported, as they would have to compete with lychees from other regions as well, like China or Mexico.

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