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Dragon Fruit - Golden product for Binh Thuan economy (Part 2)
08 | 07 | 2007

Investment cost for dragon fruits (Unit: ha)

The first year:

- Compost (compost , chemical compost, compost rent ): 15 - 16 million

- Irrigation : 8 million

- Rom : 2 million

- Other expenses: (weeding wages ): 10 million

Grand total: 80 - 100 million for investing in the first year, no input for 1 ha of dragon fruit

The second year

- Compost cost: 15 - 16 million

- Weeding: 2.5 million

- Rom: 4.5 million

Grand total: 20 - 25 million for the second year. This year it is right crop. In the best case, it can collect from 10 - 15 million

The third year:

- Compost : 20 - 20 mil

- Power : 75 - 80 mil (including 55 million for transformer) plus to 10 million for power grid + 10 million power money

Grand total: 100 - 120 million. For the third year it can have the income with two crops: (right crop, power crop). In the best case, it can collect from 80 - 100 million

From the fourth year

The cost is nearly corresponding to the third year, so, the income can be higher (150 - 200 million). Dragon fruit can harvest to the 15- 20 crop, but the peak point is the 4 - 10 crops.

Dragon fruit can harvest around the year classified into: the right crop, from lunar May - August and wrong crop from lunar April - September. Income mainly comes from “power crop “or wrong crop, therefore dragon fruit will be fruitful, tasty and cost - effective. Nevertheless, since the third year, dragon fruit has had the wrong crop and must invest a large amount of money for the lighting up at nights to prolong the operation duration

It can divide households into 3 groups by 3 reasons: wealthy/difficulty closely linking to dragon fruit as follows:

- The first group: Those are households with large - scale planting area of dragon fruit, hence, it has come into the income period for a long time (since 3 years), the possibility of high income and accumulation. Normally, those are households with the planting area of dragon fruit over 2 hectares.

- The second group : Those are households with relative planting area of dragon fruit (around 0.5 - 1 ha), begun or came into the income period for a short time, started to accumulate and re- invested in dragon fruit but not capital loan.

- The third group: Those are difficult households due to not much planting area of dragon fruit, starting to plant dragon fruit lately, less capital and must borrow capital to invest and expand the planting area of this. Those households have two agricultural activities: dragon fruit and paddy planting in parallel with cropper planting.

After surveying, analyzing and synthesizing, we realized that three households groups are different in conditions to develop dragon fruit which had 3 concerned trends and different demands that rural development policy of localities should get involved in the coming time.

- For the group of well - off households, the most concerned thing is no contributions at localities or capital capacity to expand production, business activities, land and hydraulic fees..... The most concerned thing is the possibility of expanding dragon fruit export market and price stability. Currently, dragon fruit in Ham Thuan Nam district as well as Bin Than province mainly exports into China (It is estimated that state workers and local people reach around 80-85%, no official figures). They know a certain thing that price of dragon fruit in years to come will remain many negative changes in parallel with the area expansion but when that thing happens and responsive ways , they have not any detailed models. Hence, their aspiration is that they received consultancy, assistance in market - pricing information in the expansion of export market, especially , markets in Asian region ( but no Europe , The U.S , they said that Asian climatic condition is tailored to use fresh dragon fruit than European and American countries )

- The second group is the group that initially accumulates capital, land, the possibility and demand of expansion and production development. This households group, on one hand, has given capital demand, due to not abundant accumulation, on the other hand faces many difficulties in domestic consumption for dragon fruit collected merchants. The main difficulty of these households that annual land transformation into dragon fruit planting (perennial crops). Currently, granting of certificate of land use right for annual land at two localities is sluggish, it is estimated that it can reach 30 - 40%. If borrowing money in certificate of annual land use right, a maximum level for 1 hectare at Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development only range from 15 - 20 million VND . In the meanwhile, together with dragon fruit planting area, it can borrow primarily from 45 - 60 million. In practice, local people at surveyed areas (Ham Mina, especially Ham Than) spontaneously converts land use from paddy and cropper into dragon fruit planting, not implement the procedure to transform with local authorities. In principle, this is contrary to legal regulations. Only when borrowing money to invest in dragon fruit, households make transformation procedures and petition to grant the certificate of land use right for transformed area, but its speed is very slow. Therefore, their aspiration is that it rapidly creates good condition in land use and capital borrowing, development of dragon fruit.

Basically, in the surveying areas, the process to approve the transforming the purpose of land use as follows:

o Households which have the demand of transforming, they petition to transform

o “One – door” office of the commune confirmed (under the regulation that after 15 days since the day received the petition of households

o Submitting the petition of households to The District Land Registry under Environment and Natural Resources Agency (On the stipulation that after one month since the day received the petition of households submitted by junior levels.

Figure 2: Agricultural product value of Binh Thuan (2005, million VND)

Source: Yearbook of Binh Thuan, 2005

However, on one hand, communal officials say that the process is slow because there is only one official who is responsible for certificating. On the other hand, only when households need to borrow money, they were thinking of transformation. Meanwhile, annual planting area has still not been granted the certificate of land use right.

- The third group: Those are very difficult households, on one hand, deficiency in labor, paddy-field, knowledge, experience. These households currently, live on mainly paddy and cropper planting, initially planting dragon fruit with a limited number. In addition, in order to increase income, they go for rent in the area. Households have not labor health; their life increasingly becomes more difficult these households want to exempt continuously contributions at the locality (education and health fund). At the same time, some people also want to borrow money to plant dragon fruit on available land.

Cultivation and selling dragon fruit is the main income source for households and local administration at the surveyed areas of Binh Thuan province. Therefore, favorable or difficult conditions impacting on dragon fruit also directly affect to socio - economic situation. Some issues that policy on the development of agriculture and rural area should take into account that:

The first, the process of expanding the area of planting dragon fruit is corresponding to the promotion of utilizing irrigation water sources. Currently, the hydraulic system only satisfies a small proportion of production demand and mainly plays an important role in adjusting water than the increased water resources. Households expanding the area of dragon fruit distant from areas with natural surface water source and hydraulic system must use underground water. At the current time, use of the underground water faces the difficulties due to lack of water for the production in some areas. Moreover, when the area of planting dragon fruit is expanded, the exploitation of underground water will be rapid.

The second, planning in dragon fruit development. We do not master the detailed plan of localities (all levels) on the development of dragon fruit, but the spontaneous transformation of households at the surveyed communes (from paddy and cropper land into dragon fruit planting) have shown that the development planning of dragon fruit (if any) is not implemented in reality. In the meanwhile, the market of dragon fruit is not expanded, the cause of that the quality, trade promotion task, limited production capacity of producers (type of enterprises, cooperatives, occupying a small proportion. Therefore, the danger in the development of dragon fruit by “movement” and its negative impact, fore mostly, on the disadvantaged households, less capital, production experience deficiency and market will be great.

The third, farm households especially at Ham Thanh commune start to use chemical substances (banned drug) to stimulate the growth of dragon fruit and bring fruitfulness and cheaper cost. This substance is produced domestically. No poisonous case in practice, also no any study to justify the health impact of dragon fruit on health of producers and consumers. But this kind of dragon fruit is not exported and rules out by collectors and only consumes in domestic market. In the meanwhile, domestic market is dependent upon export having the demand to expand the market, this is unsustainable production trend.

Ngo Vi Dung, Nguyen Van Y - AGROINFO
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