Improving the shelf life of dragon fruit Vietnam
Dragon fruit is an important economic driver for certain areas in Vietnam, in particular Binh Thuan, Long An and Tien Giang. Dragon fruit (also called Pitahaya) has a big potential to be exported to ‘not easy to go’ markets as Europe, Japan and United States. However, the limited shelf life of dragon fruit is a major constrain to enter these markets, due to the long transporting time by ship.
Viet Nam Farmer’s Union VNFU wants to strengthen the livelihood of farmers who are growing dragon fruit. Together with Vietnamese and Dutch experts VFNU wants to establish a comprehensive, multi annual program to improve the quality of dragon fruit.
This initiative of VNFU fits very well with the government plan to prioritize 10 major agricultural value chains to improve, as announced by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in August 2016.
VNFU wants to invite partners to form a Public Private Partnership to join forces to acquire appropriate funding and to carry out an ambitious program accordingly.
We aim at duration of 5 years. Main goal of our collaboration is to set up a leading program to improve the quality of the fruit, resulting in an extended shelf life of the fruit and enhanced export position of Vietnam. Ultimate result would be the transition from transport by aircraft to transport by ship: climate friendly, due to reduction of emission of Green House Gases, and creating increased opportunities for export in larger amounts to far away markets. Moreover, more growers will get access to new markets, with stable and fair prices for a sustainable product.
Improvement of the quality of fruit is attainable by optimizing all steps in the chain: from farmer to consumer. The program will distinct farm management, with attention to soil, fertilization, irrigation, drainage, crop protection, and post-harvest treatment. A first small pilot on post-harvest treatment will be established early 2017. Focus of this pilot will be on reducing the damage caused by the fungus disease Anthracnose. VNFU and partners aim at a large scale project as next step after the pilot, and want to embed this in the existing collaboration between Vietnam and the Netherlands.
Land Water Food Consult is involved in this initiative, supporting VNFU to set up this program. A leading program on dragon fruit could make the collaboration concrete and fruitful and could give access to international funding as well.