Off-season Monthong durian prices climb to record highs

Grade B and C are selling at VND195,000-200,000 and VND100,000-140,000.

Ri 6 durian prices remain steady at VND160,000 for grade A and VND70,000 for grade C.

Hoang, a farmer in Ben Tre Province, said he was surprised to see the skyrocketing prices.

He sold a ton of grade C Monthong durian for VND110,000 per kilogram and still has two tons of the off-season fruit to harvest next week, he said.

"I have never seen prices this high. In the last three days many merchants have offered to buy my [grade C] durian for VND130,000-140,000, but I have not sold yet."

Also besieged by traders is Lan in Can Tho City, who said off-season Monthong durian saw several price spikes this year due to lower supply.

This year his family could only harvest three tons in the off-season, down from four last year, he said.

"Climate change, salinity intrusion and nutrient deficiency have all led to decreased yield."

Concurring with this, a representative of durian firm Van Hoa said Monthong durian production has decreased by 20-30% this year.

"Supply is very scarce, with grade A prices reaching a peak of VND230,000 per kilogram. And even then, they are not easily available for purchase."

Nguyen Hang, a trader in Tien Giang Province, said they could only procure five to 15 tons of the fruit per day this year compared to 30-40 tons last year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta has surpassed normal levels this year and is a huge problem also for durian farmers.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, expected supply to recover in May and prices to stabilize.

Vietnam exported nearly 39,000 tons of durian for $172 million in the first two months of the year, almost double the figure for the same period last year, according to the General Department of Customs.

The Plant Protection Department recently said the country is set to sign a memorandum of understanding to officially export frozen durian to China.

This can potentially boost annual exports by 30%, Nguyen said.

Source: VnExpress