Binh Thuan agricultural sector is encouraging local farmers to apply safe farming techniques in blue dragon fruit production.
Nguyen Quoc Nguyen Vu’s family in Ham Minh commune has been growing blue dragon fruit for more than 20 years. Three years ago Vu adopted GlobalGAP standards for the fruit because the price of the traditionally grown product often fluctuated. Dragon fruit from his 25-hectare Phuc An farm has been exported to New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Canada. Vu expanded his farm an additional 20 hectares following the success of previous crops.
"Farmers should proactively improve the quality of their products to increase the price. One way is to apply GlobalGAP standards or organic methods to avoid too much dependence on traditional markets," he said.
The GlobalGAP production process requires high tech and strict management in cultivating, harvesting, and packaging. Under the GlobalGAP rules, land under cultivation is divided into lots which are numbered to make it easier to manage and trace product origins. The 20-hectare Son Tra farm in Ham Thuan Nam district is professionally managed. Every step from applying fertilizer to trimming branches and watering is carefully noted, according to Nguyen Huu Phuong, who is in charge of farming techniques at Son Tra farm.
“It’s difficult to grow safe blue dragon fruit, which must meet strict requirements of production, preservation, processing, and transport set by demanding import markets. But that’s why the price is high,” Phuong added.
Many blue dragon fruit farms in Binh Thuan have increased their production of safe, high-value produce. The Hoang Hau Blue Dragon Co-operative and the Binh Thuan Vegetable and Fruit Farm have won recognition for meeting the technical standards of US quarantine agencies.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reports that 220 hectares are now growing blue dragon fruit under GlobalGAP standards. Recently the Australian government approved imports of Vietnamese blue dragon fruit, opening new opportunities.
Engineer Pham Huu Thu, who works for the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “It’s necessary to record details of origin, food hygiene and safety, quarantine, and insect control if Vietnam wants to export blue dragon fruit to Australia. We’ll continue to encourage local farmers to grow the fruit following VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.”