Monitoring enhanced to prevent traders from using chemicals to ripen durian

Prices of durian in the Mekong Delta have significantly increased ranging from VND120,000 (US$4,801) - VND200,000 a kg (depending on variety). High prices of the fruit delighted growers because they had bumper crops and earned high incomes. 

However, some dishonest traders have bought poor quality durians and young durians and then they used chemicals to ripen the fruit. Authorities in the Mekong Delta localities have increased control measures and encouraged farmers to harvest and sell ripened durian.

In Hau Giang, Can Tho City, traders are currently buying durian at prices ranging from VND120,000 - VND200,000 per kg depending on different varieties. This is a very high price, increasing from VND40,000 - VND60,000 a kg compared to the same period last year. This price has lasted from mid-March until now.

However, worryingly, traders in some localities are using many tricks to manipulate and push down the prices of the fruit. For instance, Director Huynh Van Hoanh of Tan Thoi 1 Cooperative in Can Tho City’s Phong Dien District said that some traders come to the garden to buy durian, pushing up the price and then making handwritten contracts with farmers. On harvest days, traders use a trick that they just cut about 5 percent of farmers’ fruit orchards, then force farmers to lower prices by 20 percent - 30 percent. If growers disagree to sell at lower prices, traders will give up their deposits.

According to Mr. Huynh Van Hoanh, traders had already cut a batch of the fruit so if farmers want to sell to other traders, the price continued to decrease by 30 percent - 35 percent compared to the previously agreed price; therefore, farmers suffered losses continuously.

More than 3,530 hectares of durian are grown in Phong Dien District and more than 2,000 hectares are fruit-bearing areas. Currently, growers are entering the main harvest season. This year's durian output in Phong Dien District is estimated over 32,600 tons.

More worryingly, in the past month, several traders buying young, poor-quality durians and then ripened them with chemicals affecting the local durian brand. To deter deceitful people from doing this, the authority in Phong Dien District has asked communes and towns to closely monitor durian trading and advise people to harvest durian at the right time to achieve the highest quality.

According to Head Tran Van Tuan of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Phung Hiep District of Hau Giang Province, durian are currently grown in nearly 650 hectares, an increase of nearly 150 hectares compared to the end of 2022. Currently, Phung Hiep also has 30 hectares of certified VietGAP durians which are is exported to the Chinese market.

According to the Department of Crop Production, in the past 10 years from 2013 to 2023, the durian area in the Mekong Delta increased by 20,600 hectares, from 12,600 hectares to 33,200 hectares. Durian output reaches about 330,000 tons. The price of durian exported to the Chinese market in the first months of 2024 is very high. As a result, some farmers have switched from growing rice and jackfruit to growing durian, some of the farmland in the province are converted into durian orchards without following the local planning.

Hau Giang has about 2,500 hectares of durian cultivation, an increase of 640 hectares over the same period in 2023. Of 2,500 hectares of durian farmland, about 1,000 hectares are being harvested with an average yield of 14-16 tons per ha. The ri6 durian variety accounts for 84 percent whilst the Monthong variety accounts for 12 percent, and other varieties account for 4 percent.

According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Giang, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hau Giang province, farmers should learn and thoroughly understand technical measures in durian cultivation. Durian trees should only be planted in lands suitable for durian growing conditions. Moreover, the fruit should be grown on large farmland with planting area codes for export.

At the same time, it is necessary to closely link with purchasing and exporting businesses to create a stable and sustainable production-consumption linkage. In addition, farmers need to comply with food safety regulations and ensure the quality of agricultural products by increasing the use of organic fertilizers.

Source: SGGP