Farmers destroy dragon fruit gardens

Many gardeners in Binh Thuan cut down dragon fruit because the purchase price of this agricultural product is volatile, they continuously suffer heavy losses.

Last weekend, Mr. Nguyen The Anh, a farmer in Ham Thanh commune (Ham Thuan Nam district), rented a motor vehicle and two workers to start uprooting more than 3,000 dragon fruit roots. The dragon fruit ropes on the poles in the garden are green, but the garden owner had to destroy and uproot the poles, because he could not afford to invest further.

Workers and vehicles are uprooting and destroying the dragon fruit garden of Mr. Nguyen The Kha, Ham Thanh commune (Ham Thuan Nam district).  Photo: Viet Quoc

Workers and trucks uprooted and destroyed dragon fruit in Mr. Nguyen The Anh’s garden, Ham Thanh commune (Ham Thuan Nam district). Photo: Viet Quoc

He said, the last three generations of the family’s lanterns in a row, each generation has suffered a dramatic drop in price, selling only a few thousand dong a kilogram. The money from the sale of dragon fruit is not enough to pay for electricity for the lamps, for the distribution of medicines and for the care. Each generation of investment loses tens of millions of dong.

“With the current situation, continuing to work will continue to make losses, so I decided to cut down dragon fruit and switch to growing jackfruit and custard-apple, no other choice,” said Mr. The Anh.

Mr. Tran Phi Dung, the owner of the uprooting truck in Mr. Kha’s garden, said that not only Mr. Kha, but also many farmers in the area had also uprooted dragon fruit due to the volatile price. “About 20 days ago, a lot of gardens in the Ham Thanh – Ham Can area rented a car from my house to remove the pillars,” said Mr. Dung.

According to Mr. Dung, in Ham Thanh commune, there are 10 vehicles specializing in uprooting dragon fruit, and his family has two. On average, a truck pulls about 250 posts per day. The rental price is 20,000 VND per pillar, if you clean up the dragon fruit in the garden, each pillar is 30,000 VND.

“Dragon fruit trees are very expensive to invest, now to uproot, farmers have to pay more costs,” Dung said and said many gardeners here want to demolish, but do not have money to rent a car, so they have to give it a go. Dragon fruit shriveled and died.

Pham Kim Luan, farmer in Thuan Minh commune (Ham Thuan Bac district) cut down more than 1,500 dragon fruit pillars in his garden, on March 19.  Photo: Viet Quoc

Pham Kim Lam, farmer in Thuan Minh commune (Ham Thuan Bac district), cut down more than 1,500 dragon fruit pillars in the garden, on March 18. Photo: Viet Quoc

Last week, Mr. Pham Kim Lam, 61 years old, in Thuan Minh commune (Ham Thuan Bac district) with his son, wielding a machete, distributed more than 1,500 mature dragon fruit pillars in a garden of more than 1.5 hectares adjacent to an irrigation canal. River Quao.

Ten years ago, when dragon fruit was valuable, Mr. Lam concentrated his investment capital in planting this dragon fruit garden. Actively irrigation water all year round, his garden is green and fruitful.

In the first few years, dragon fruit was the main source of income for the family. But last year, dragon fruit prices dropped continuously, suffered heavy losses, he decided to stop investing. He only pumped moderate water to keep the humidity and fertilized a little to maintain the garden in the hope that the price would rise again to focus on investing in production and lighting the lights again.

But since the beginning of the year, the price of dragon fruit has plummeted because China stopped receiving goods at Vietnam – China border gates. Many ripe dragon fruit gardens in the region do not have people coming to buy or buy cheap prices of 1,000-2,000 VND per kilogram.

Seeing that the situation was too bleak, Mr. Lam decided to destroy all dragon fruit in the garden. After cutting the rope, he rented a car to pull up the pillars, clean the garden, so that the next rainy season, he could plant crops such as corn, beans, etc. or in the lowlands, he would dig up the land for rice.

According to Mr. Lam, one hectare of dragon fruit per litter costs about tens of millions of dong in investment costs (electricity for lights, fertilizers, plant protection drugs, growth stimulants) and care. However, the price is only 1,000-2,000 VND, even if no one buys it, the more the garden owner makes the more debt.

“I’d rather stop working now, but try to borrow money from a bank to invest, the more I do it, the more I die,” Lam said, adding that at the moment, only families with food can afford to do so. keep the garden, continue farming.

A ripe dragon fruit garden in Ham Thuan Nam district (Binh Thuan) no one came to buy, at the end of 2021. Photo: Viet Quoc

A ripe dragon fruit garden in Ham Thuan Nam district no one came to buy. Photo: Viet Quoc

By the end of 2021, Binh Thuan has more than 33,700 hectares of dragon fruit, with an output of 700,000 tons/year, although it has exported to many countries, it still depends mainly on the Chinese market along the border.

The price of dragon fruit has continuously dropped in recent years, causing many gardeners to make losses, leading to stopping production or destroying their gardens and switching to other crops. Currently, Binh Thuan’s agricultural sector still does not have complete statistics on this situation.

Particularly in Ham Thuan Bac district, in 2021, this locality reported that 1,400 hectares of dragon fruit were destroyed. “Of which, more than 726 hectares have been cancelled, not produced, and nearly 674 hectares have been converted to other crops,” said Le Minh Luan, Head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Ham Thuan Bac district.