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The consumption and export plan of dragon fruit in Binh Thuan - Vietnam's "capital" of dragon fruit.

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

The enchanting province of Binh Thuan in Vietnam has emerged as a key player in the global dragon fruit market, exporting a significant portion of its produce to countries like the United States and Japan. Renowned for its distinctive sweetness and nutritional prowess, dragon fruit cultivation has not only become a pivotal component of Binh Thuan's agricultural economy but has also contributed to the overall rural development of the region. This article delves into the flourishing dragon fruit industry of Binh Thuan, highlighting its economic significance, production landscape, and strategic export partnerships.

Dragon fruit in Binh Thuan province exported to China
Dragon fruit in Binh Thuan province exported to China

Economic Significance of Dragon Fruit in Binh Thuan.

Economic Significance of Dragon Fruit in Binh Thuan.
Economic Significance of Dragon Fruit in Binh Thuan.

With approximately 30,000 farming households actively engaged in dragon fruit cultivation, harvesting, processing, and export, the industry consistently generates regular employment opportunities for 70,000 to 80,000 laborers each year. Spanning a total area of around 27,649 hectares, productivity was 217.4 quintals/ha, and harvested output was 600,500 tons. The province's dragon fruit pricing is now consistent at 18,000 - 20,000 VND/kg for white meat dragon fruit and 30,000 - 35,000 VND/kg for red flesh dragon fruit. The official dragon fruit export turnover in 2022 will be USD 8.17 million, which equates to 7,850 tons of fresh dragon fruit.


Varietal Diversity and Farming Practices.


Within Binh Thuan, the cultivation of the red-skinned, white-fleshed dragon fruit variety accounts for a substantial portion, encompassing approximately 80% of the cultivation area. The remaining cultivation space is allocated to other varieties like red-skinned with red flesh, red-skinned with pink-purple flesh, and the emerging yellow-skinned with white-fleshed variety.


Strategic Export Partnerships.


Prominent dragon fruit cooperatives such as the Thuan Tien Dragon Fruit Cooperative (certified with GlobalGAP in 2017) have established stable partnerships with domestic enterprises, exporting 100 tons annually to Europe at an average price of 26,000 Vietnamese dong per kilogram. The Hoa Le Clean Dragon Fruit Cooperative has strategically aligned with companies such as Vinh Cuu Green Company to export 120 tons monthly to the United States and with Giasaka Company in Japan for a monthly export of approximately 30 tons to the Japanese market.


Export Markets:


The official export market for Binh Thuan dragon fruit is now Asia (accounting for around 75% of output), which includes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, Singapore, Thailand Lan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates... While Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and the Americas account for approximately 8% of the European market. (approximately 15%) is Canada, the United States, and the Oceania market (a minor share) primarily consumed in Australia and New Zealand... Binh Thuan dragon fruit is currently registered in Japan. Signing for geographical indication protection was successful, and it is the first step toward creating competitive advantages for typical local products in this market.


Formal Export Statistics:


In 2022, the formal export of dragon fruit from Binh Thuan reached over 6,606 tons, generating a trade value of approximately 7.72 million USD. During the first quarter of 2023, the exported volume totaled 1,150 tons, contributing to an export value of 1.8 million USD – achieving 20.93% of the annual target, though experiencing a 13.17% decrease compared to the same period the previous year.


Informal Border Trade:


Around 70-80% of Binh Thuan's dragon fruit production is directed through informal border trade channels. These operations primarily involve enterprises, establishments, and small businesses procuring the fruit for export to China. Crossing into China via northern border checkpoints such as Tan Thanh (Lang Son) – Po Chai (Guangxi, China), Kim Thanh (Lao Cai) – Ha Khau (Yunnan, China), and Thanh Thuy (Hà Giang) – Thien Bao (Yunnan, China), as well as Mong Cai (Quang Ninh) – Đong Hung (Guangxi, China), allows the fruit to reach Chinese markets.


Export Expansion and Market Dynamics:


Binh Thuan's dragon fruit exports are thriving, particularly to markets such as the United States and Japan. The reopening of the Chinese market following the Lunar New Year led to an upsurge in purchase activities, driving the fruit prices to a stable range of 15,000 to 20,000 Vietnamese dong per kilogram. However, the volume of dragon fruit available for export remains limited, attributed to prolonged price fluctuations that discouraged some farming households from adequately nurturing their crops.


Diversification through Processing:


Beyond the fresh fruit market, Binh Thuan's dragon fruit industry has embraced diversification by transforming the fruit into an array of processed products. These include dried dragon fruit, juice, wine, candies, and syrups, primarily catering to the domestic market. With an annual processing capacity of about 182,000 tons, these processed products account for roughly 26% of the total production.

Operating at a facility engaged in exporting Binh Thuan drag
Operating at a facility engaged in exporting Binh Thuan dragon fruit
Binh Thuan dragon fruit is regarded as an agricultural product with advantages in both domestic and international markets. However, the export condition of local goods, notably agricultural items (mostly dragon fruit), has recently been tough. As a result, the municipality will continue to improve trade promotion support in order to expand the dragon fruit consumption market, which is expected to reach 663,000 tons in 2023.

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