Gia Huong and Cay Mo bananas in Dong Nai Province have been ready to harvest since February, but traders, mostly in China, have stopped importing the fruit.
At a forum on sustainable consumption of bananas, Hoang Thi Bich Hang, chairwoman of the Farmer’s Union in the province, said that bananas are grown on 700,000 hectares, mostly in the districts of Trang Bom, Thong Nhat, Dinh Xuan and Long Khanh.
Bom and Su bananas are sold for VNĐ5,000-VNĐ7,000 per kilo, Hang said.
“These kinds of bananas have not faced problems in sales because enterprises in the province buy them to dry for export,” she said.
However, Gia Huong and Cay Mo bananas have not been selling. Their prices have fallen to VNĐ1,000 to VNĐ1,200 (4 to 5 US cents) per kilo, she added.
In the same period last year, the prices were more than VNĐ10,000 per kilo because the demand from China was high. At the end of 2015, bananas in China could not grow because of cold weather.
At that time, many Vietnamese farmers saw higher prices for Gia Huong and Cay Mo bananas compared to Bơm and Sứ bananas so they did not want to plant the latter. Instead, they cut trees and planted Gia Huong and Cay Mo.
According to economists, the demand from China since February has been not high because banana cultivation there has recovered.
Prior to the low sales, the provincial agencies had worked with many organisations and associations in the province and HCM City to help farmers.
Big C on March 2 launched its “No Profit Dong Nai Banana” campaign.
The leading supermarket chain will purchase 100 tonnes of bananas, absorb transportation, logistics and marketing costs, and sell the fruit at retail prices at VNĐ5,900 per kilo at 15 stores around the country with all proceeds going directly to the farmers themselves.
Nguyen Bach Viet of Sejong Việt Nam Company, which exports bananas to South Korea, said that he also wanted to help farmers in Dong Nai Province.
In the upcoming days, he will visit farmers to check the quality of bananas and then look for traders in Korea to buy bananas, Viet said.
The Startups and Administration Club has worked with the Viet Nam Social Welfare Centre for Adolescents and universities to organise a campaign called Charity Banana since February 22.
After eight days, around 300 tonnes of bananas were sold to help farmers, but the number accounted for 10 per cent of the total real figure in the province.
In the Trang Bom District alone, more than 4,000 tonnes are waiting to sell.
Do Long, chairman of the Startups and Administration Club, said: “It is urgent to carry out the campaign now. However, the activities of volunteers are not a sustainable way to produce higher consumption.”
Long said that he had received calls from farmers in the provinces of Tay Ninh and Ba Ria - Vung Tau for help.
Co-operation between enterprises, farmers, scientists and the government should be strengthened, he said.
Long said that he could call on associations with a large number of enterprises in this field to buy bananas from farmers.
Relevant agencies in districts with large areas of bananas will co-operate with authorities at industrial parks and export processing zones to buy bananas to be used as the dessert served with lunches for their workers, he said.
Dr Pham Thanh Duy of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities said that this was a chance for students to work as volunteers in the campaign as traders for bananas.
They could sell bananas which are verified to meet quality standards by the provincial Technical Centre of Quality Measurement Standards III to convenience shops, Duy said.
Pham Thai Son, head of the centre for enterprises relations at the HCM City University of Food Industry, said the charity campaign could affect prices in markets, meaning that other traders not included in the campaign might find it difficult to sell bananas because prices could be higher than those offered in the campaign.
The school will work with other universities in the food industry and technology to research ways to process bananas into other products, Son said.
A student at the University of Food Industry is conducting research to use bananas in the processing of flour.
Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/society/372110/sustainable-solutions-sought-for-declining-banana-sales.html