A bumper dragon fruit crop in the central province of Binh Thuan has resulted in horrific losses and waste.
Huge heaps of discarded dragon fruit now line the stretch of National Road 1 that crosses through Ham Thuan Nam District.
Farmers and traders in the district blamed falling prices for what has turned into a virtual dragon fruit buffet for free-roaming cattle.
The highest quality fruit in the district currently sells at between VND4,000 and 5,000 (around $0.2) per kilos, or a 50 percent year-on-year drop.
Smaller fruits sell for merely VND2,000 ($0.1) per kilo while lower-quality fruit had a “for form’s sake” price of just VND 1,000 ($0.05) per kilo.
On other local roads leading to the dragon fruit orchards, even larger are currently rotting in the sun.
Le Thi Ngoc, a local fruit trader, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that she had bought the highest-quality dragon fruit for just VND8,000 ($0.40) per kilo only to find that Chinese traders across the border won't budge beyond a ceiling price of VND9,000 ($0.45).
“Traders like me have lost [VND] billions each. [We paid] laborers, packers, shippers only sell at that low price; how can we expect to earn a living?” she asked.
“Many believe they're better off just dumping the fruit on the side of the road.”
At markets in Ho Chi Minh City, some 200 kilometers away, red pulp dragon fruit starts at VND15,000- 20,000 ($0.71-0.94) per kilo while the white pulp fruit goes for VND 5,000 cheaper.
Heaps of dragon fruit being sold on the side of the road are offered at as little as VND10,000 ($0.47) per kilo.