Domestic exporters are striving to diversify markets for their dragon fruit, with a view to reducing their dependence on traditional importers from China and the US.

Thanks to domestic farmers’ efforts to improve product quality, Vietnamese dragon fruit has managed to penetrate into demanding markets such as the EU, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Over the recent past, dragon fruit exports to the EU, in addition to other traditional markets, including Thailand , Indonesia , and Netherlands , rose again, which was attributed to international recognition and certification.

Specifically, the dragon fruit has satisfied strict quality requirements of the aforesaid importers and has become the first Vietnamese fruit receiving export code granted by the US . In 2012, Binh Thuan dragon fruit was certificated for its trademark protected by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) .

In addition, the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has recently granted a certification for dragon fruit of the Hong An Agricultural Products Import-Export Co., Ltd that satisfies requirements for export to the RoK.

New Zealand has also started a plan helping Vietnam expand its farming and export of the fruit, with the aim of turning Vietnam into the world’s leading dragon fruit exporter.

According to Director of the Southern Fruit Research Institute Nguyen Minh Chau, around 54 percent of Vietnam ’s dragon fruit exports are shipped to the Chinese market, which suffers from unstable demand.

In lowering the dependence on the main importers, efforts have been exerted by domestic dragon fruit exporters to seek and diversify new markets, namely Spain, the Philippines, Norway, India, and the Middle East.

According to a representative of the E.K Prima Vietnam Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of LuLu Group International which is one of the largest corporations in the Middle East, the company sells an average 120 tonnes of dragon fruit to the region each month.

However, several countries such as the US, Japan, Israel and Thailand have succeeded in planting dragon fruit-trees and extending the cultivation, thus being potential rivals for Vietnam’s dragon fruit.

Therefore, domestic experts suggested that localities specialising in dragon fruit should soon surmount shortcomings related to processing, especially preservation and packaging, as well as fostering trade promotion activities.

Vietnam has around 25,000 ha of dragon fruit mostly grown in the central and southern provinces of Binh Thuan, Tien Giang and Long An. Due to high economic value brought to growers, the dragon fruit plantations in the localities have continuously increased over the recent past.-VNA