First surveying activity of Tropical Fruit project

In mid April 2022, a team comprising MCNV representatives and technical advisors made their first surveying trip to households growing mango, dragon fruits and grape fruits in four provinces of Binh Thuan, Long An, Dong Thap and Ben Tre.

The surveying activity aims to look for key farmers offering their orchards for advanced-technology agricultural trials and demonstration as part of the project “Fruit quality project” by MCNV and the Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU)

The working task force visits a mango garden of a farmer family in Dong Thap.

The working group comprised representatives from the VNFU, MCNV and three among the project’s partner companies: Bayer Vietnam (crop protection agents producer), Yara (fertilizer producer) and Eurofins (innovative soil and crop analysis).

During the trip, the farmers were briefed on the project’s objectives and the benefits of participating in the project as well as the eligibility criteria to be selected, including the minimum area of field possessed, the willingness and openness to acquiring new technology to improve the product quantity and quality. Besides, the working group also conducted inspection in terms of water resources, farming techniques, the use of insecticides and fertilizer, target export market, etc in surveying fields.

Selected farmers will represent their respective province to offer their field for fertilizer trials, demonstrations of crop protection and irrigation technology.

Soil testing in a pomelo orchard in Ben Tre province

After the survey, 2 farmers’ household were selected including a pomelo plantation in Ben Tre province and a mango plantation in Dong Thap province. The survey will be further continued to search for another two households representing Binh Thuan and Long An provinces.

With total value of 906,665 euro, nearly half of which is funded by the Dutch Goverment via the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO), the project aims to improve the quality of the dragon fruit, grape fruits and mango in four provinces: Dong Thap, Long An, Ben Tre and Binh Thuan.

During the last 2 years, COVID-19 has adversely impacted the fruits market in Vietnam.

According to a farmer growing mango in Dong Thap province, there was the time when production costs exceeded the selling price “ripe mangoes were given away to people instead of being sold, they can take as much as they want”, he said.

In Binh Thuan , normally the farmers will break even at  the price of VND 9,000 per kilogram of dragon fruits. However, there were the time when the price plunged to only VND 2,000-3,000 per kilogram. Unsold dragon fruits were disposed or used to feed cattles.

Therefore in the last 2 years, most farmers growing dragon fruits minimized the costs of maintainence of their orchards. They cut down spending on fertilizers, pesticides, labour cost up to 80% to wait for the recovery of the market (VND 12,000-13,000). In this context, the project jointly conducted by MCNV and VNFU is expected to create a reliable and sustainable cooperation between European leading companies and the farmers in Vietnam./.