The Chinese dragon fruit industry has rapidly developed in recent years. The overall surface area devoted to dragon fruit plantation continues to expand. Although the outbreak of Covid-19 seriously affected general market conditions, people in the industry are hopeful for the new dragon fruit season. Mr. Dong, a spokesperson for Long Yi Sheng Fruit Industry, a specialized red heart dragon fruit grower and supplier from Nanning in Guangxi, recently talked about current conditions in the Chinese dragon fruit industry.
Dragon fruit is popular in supermarkets, restaurants, KTV, and beverage shops. "When the restaurants closed during the outbreak of Covid-19, the market demand for dragon fruit suddenly dropped. Intermediaries were afraid of unmarketable conditions, so they reduced their purchase volume in production areas. The Covid-19 pandemic also interrupted distribution networks. The import volume of Vietnamese dragon fruit declined by nearly 40%. Suppliers who purchased from Vietnam gradually turned their attention to domestic production areas. In the end, the purchase price in production areas dropped while the retail price remained high. Intermediaries made substantial profits," explained manager Dong.
Almost 90% of the dragon fruit sold in the Chinese market comes from Vietnam. "The Vietnamese dragon fruit has a deep purple fruit peel with bright green tips. Vietnamese dragon fruit is beautiful to look at. The color of Chinese dragon fruit is more shallow and the green tips are not as fresh. As for the flavor, the Vietnamese dragon fruit grows in a shorter period of time so that the flavor is not as well developed as the Chinese dragon fruit, which accumulates sugars over a longer period of time. The sugar content of Vietnamese red heart dragon fruit is between 14%-16%, while the sugar content of domestic dragon fruit is between 16%-20%. The flavor of Chinese dragon fruit is superior to the flavor of Vietnamese dragon fruit. As for the price, the production volume of domestic dragon fruit is smaller and the flavor is better, so the price is higher than the price of Vietnamese dragon fruit."
When asked about developments in the Chinese dragon fruit industry, manager Dong replied: "Most Chinese consumers are unaware of the high quality, sweet dragon fruit produced in Chinese production areas. As the fame of Chinese dragon fruit grows, so does the number of Chinese dragon fruit growers, and so the annual production volume increases. Nanning in Guangxi is one of the main production areas of Chinese dragon fruit. The overall surface area devoted to dragon fruit plantation was only around 3,000 hectares in 2018, but already reached 12,000 hectares in 2020. The surface area increased fourfold in only three years. There are 8-10 harvests per year in Guangxi. The peak period takes place in April and continues until January in the subsequent year."
The Long Yi Sheng dragon fruit plantation covers an area of 53 hectares with an annual production volume of 2 million kg of red heart dragon fruit. "European friends tell me that the retail price of dragon fruit in a European supermarket is as high as 7 euro for a single dragon fruit, and the dragon fruit is a rare fruit in European supermarkets. That is when we thought of the idea to export dragon fruit. However, the outbreak of Covid-19 put our plans on hold for now. We hope to be able to experiment with dragon fruit export this year and give even more consumers the opportunity to taste the great flavor of Chinese dragon fruit!"
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