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Vietnamese fruit more expensive than regional produce
21 | 06 | 2007
The price of Vietnam-sourced fruit is much higher than the world’s price levels, and always fluctuates, according to Nguyen Minh Chau, Head of the Southern Fruit Research Institute.
Mr Chau said that Vietnamese Ri-6 durian was selling at VND25,000/kg, while Thai Mongthong durian was selling at VND7,000/kg only in Thailand, and VND10-15,000/kg in Vietnam. Similarly, Vietnamese Nam Roi pomelos are being exported to China at $2-2.5/kg, while China exports pomelos to the Netherlands at UScent50/kg only.

Experts said that the biggest challenges of fruit and vegetable produce as Vietnam has joined the WTO were price and quality.

Mr Chau said that Vietnamese farmers and producers should think of lowering selling prices otherwise they would lose the home market to foreigners as more and more foreign-sourced fruits would enter Vietnam in the near future.

The high price and low quality of Vietnam-grown fruit can explain why Thai fruit is dominating the domestic market.

May and summer months are the time for picking fruit in Mekong River Delta provinces. However, the domestic market is still flooded with foreign produce.

The Tinh Bien border district in An Giang province, for example, sees 1,000 tonnes of imported fruit every day. Most of the imports are Thai produce, including tamarind, durian, mangosteen and mango. Moreover, China-sourced fruit is also abundant. Consumers can also buy more expensive fruit like US grapes and oranges, and Japanese avocado and kiwi.

In Can Tho city, Thai mangosteen is selling at VND15-18,000/kg, while An Phu Tan-sourced mangosteen is selling at VND18-19,000/kg. Analysts said that farmers in the biggest mangosteen growing area, An Phu Tan, had to reduce the selling price by VND10,000/kg compared to last year’s level in order to make their produce competitive with Thailand’s.

Vietnamese durian now cannot find customers after people discovered that farmers in the south apply Carbendazim to durians in order to protect the fruit. Meanwhile, Thai durian is favoured by Vietnamese consumers as the product is thought to be safe as it can meet the GAP requirements.

What about mangos? In Hoa Loc, the area famous for delicious mangos, one kilogramme of mangos is VND10-15,000/kg, down from the VND22-24,000/kg level.

Domestically grown grapes are selling at VND20,000/kg, but sales are very slow. Consumers now prefer US and South America-sourced products though the imports have selling prices 3-4 fold higher than the domestic product.

Explaining why Vietnamese fruit is so expensive, experts said that small scale production led to high production costs. They said that Vietnamese fruit was the most expensive in the region, 30-40% higher than Thai fruit.

According to Tu Minh Thien, Director of the HCM City Consultancy and Agricultural Support Centre, Vietnamese fruit prices are high because of low quality and productivity. Meanwhile, preservation technologies are not professional enough to keep exports in good conditions. Mr Thien said that the percentage of spoiled fruit after preservation was relatively high, at 20-30%.

(Source: Tuoi tre, TBKTVN)

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