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Is Dragon fruit the new money maker?

Contrary to what its name may suggest, the dragon fruit has brought with it a myriad of benefits to its growers in Vietnam as its demand continues to rise.
 
The latest entrant into the dragon fruit dalliance list is New Zealand as Vietnam exporters have been given a green light to start exporting the fruit to the country according to the information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department.
 
The dragon plant matures within a year and starts to bear fruit around the same time, with an average of 5–6 cycles of harvest each year.


 
The fruit, which is football-shaped weighs an average of 150–600 grams with its outer skin either red or yellow in colour depending on its variety.
 
The dragon fruit flesh is white with tiny black edible seeds, with a texture much like that of a kiwi—soft, juicy, and a bit grainy, with a sweet-citrus taste.
 
The dragon fruit which is in the cactus species, requires little water to thrive and in the first year after planting, it starts to yield some fruits and the average yield per care is 5 to 6 tonnes.
 
The major export markets for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are China, Japan, the U.S, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
 
Among them, China is the largest importer of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables with about $300 million, accounting for one-third of the country’s total export revenues in 2015.


 
Last year China made up 28 percent of the foreign market share of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables, followed by Japan and the U.S., which each occupied 5-6 percent of the total market share.
 
The average export price for fruits and vegetables was at $539.5 per tonne, 6 per cent higher than last year.
 
The highest prices were $4,500 per tonne to Russia, and $3,600-3,630 per tonne to Japan, $2,760 to the US, $2,160canada and $2,100 to Britain.
 
Last year, Vietnam’s exports of fruits and vegetables surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time, up 21 percent over the 2014 rate of more than $827 million.
 
Despite its huge fresh fruits and vegetable exports, Vietnam still spends significant amounts of money on fruit and vegetable imports.
 
In 2012, the country spent $294 million in importing fruits and vegetables, $293.5 million in 2013, $335 million in 2014, and $402 million in 2015.
 
For more information:
Yashpal Singh
IG International
yashpal.singh@igindia.net

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