Durian shortage torments Ben Tre

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 08:36

Rising demand for durian from the Mekong Delta and an increasing preference among farmers to grow the fruit off-season to benefit from higher prices have caused prices in Ben Tre Province to rise sharply, even though the main harvest season is underway. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tri

Though the durian harvest season is in full swing in the Mekong (Cuu Long) Delta Province of Ben Tre, the price of the fruit remains high since many farmers have switched to growing the fruit in the off-season and consumers have rediscovered a taste for Vietnamese durian.

Nguyen Van Tung who owns one hectare of durian in Hung Khanh Trung B Commune of Cho Lach District said buyers have been coming to his farm almost everyday since last week asking to buy his durian.

Farmers are selling Ri6 durian on the farm for VND50,000-VND53,000 (US$2.2-2.3) per kilogramme.

Tung said: “I am quite surprised. This is the first time my durians are fetching such a high price.

“Usually a kilogramme would hardly fetch VND40,000.”

According to local durian growers, the price of the “king of fruits” has been going up since the start of the harvest season (mid-May), and they expect it to reach the price of off-season durian they harvested during Tet (the Lunar New Year) last February.

Usually during the main season prices are around VND10,000 lower than during the off-season, but the cost of growing during the season is also lower.

Ngo Tuong Vy, deputy director of fruit import-export company Chanh Thu, said another reason for the high prices now is that Vietnamese consumers prefer durian from the delta to imports from Thailand.

The decline in the area on which durian is grown during the regular season has led to a fall in supply, she said.

Ben Tre now has around 3,500ha under the fruit, with an average yield of 15-20 tonnes per hectare per year.

Last November in Cho Lach and Chau Thanh districts, the main growing areas, farmers switched to growing off season on around 700ha, or 40 per cent of the total growing area.

They harvested the fruit around February. — VNS

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