Dai Duc Cooperative in the southern province of Tra Vinh has exported around 2.7 tonnes of red flesh dragon fruit to the US since the beginning of October.

The fruit was sold at 30,000-35,000 VND per kilogram, 8,000 VND higher than the average domestic price.

The cooperative recently signed contracts to ship an additional 30 tonnes to this lucrative market in 2014.

To maintain and expand export markets and raise the economic value of the fruit, the Tra Vinh Gardening Association and the provincial Department of Science and Technology (DST) are instructing the cooperative to apply VietGap cultivation standards.

The DST encouraged farmers to replace older sweet potato, pumpkin, and bamboo crops with the more lucrative fruit.

GA President Le Van Be said the province has 74ha devoted to dragon fruit, mainly in Cang Long, Chau Thanh, Tieu Can, and Cau Ke districts. Annual average yields exceed 300 tonnes, 60 percent of which meet export standards.

Tra Vinh started build the trademark for its dragon fruit in 2012. The work has paid off, with domestic prices reaching as high as 20,000–25,000 VND per kilo, bringing an annual average income of around 300 million VND per hectare to farmers.-VNA