Avocado prices plunging, sending farmers to suffer losses

Avocado prices are falling leading to farmers’ low earnings and sales miss.

Avocado prices are plunging, sending farmers to suffer losses

Despite being in the peak avocado harvesting season, many owners of orchards in Lam Dong are not actively harvesting, leaving the fruits to fall naturally, and even cutting down trees to make space for planting other types of crops.

In the heart of Lam Dong Province, where the renowned 034 avocado variety originates, a disheartening scene unfolds as many orchards lie neglected, leaving the ripened avocados to fall and litter the ground.

Resident Nguyen Van Su in Bao Lam District recalled the initial optimism when the family invested in planting a hectare of avocado trees under VietGAP standards in 2018, lured by the promising returns compared to other crops. However, the past two years have brought a disheartening reversal, with avocado prices plummeting to record lows, currently ranging from VND2,000 to VND5,000 per kilogram.

This drastic drop has left farmers struggling to cover even the basic costs of caring for their orchards, threatening their livelihoods and the sustainability of the avocado industry in the area.

Discouraged by the meager returns, owners of orchards in Loc Ngai Commune with over 300 hectares of avocado cultivation land have abandoned the harvesting process, leaving the ripened avocados to fall and decompose on the ground.

Chairman Ho Hai of the Farmers' Association of Loc Ngai commune in the Central Highlands Province of Lam Dong’s Bao Lam District said that the avocado yield this year in the area is very high, about 500 tons, but the price that traders are buying at from VND2,500 to VND3,000 per kilogram at the present time, so farmers are not enthusiastic about harvesting or caring for the trees.

The drastic price decline has not only discouraged harvesting but has also prompted some farmers to make the drastic decision of uprooting their avocado trees and switching to growing other trees.

Farmer Vu Thi Trang from Loc Chau Commune in Bao Loc City recalled the golden days when avocado prices soared to over VND100,000 per kilogram just a few years ago.

However, the stark contrast of last year's avocado prices, starting at VND25,000-VND30,000 per kilogram at the beginning of the season and plummeting to a mere VND5,000-VND10,000 per kilogram at the peak harvest time, forced her to make a difficult choice to chop down more than 100 avocado trees. She decided to focus her care on coffee trees in the orchard instead.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong Province, over 8,000 hectares of avocado trees are currently cultivated in the province, with the 034 variety accounting for over 80 percent of the total. The annual avocado yield reaches around 80,000 tons. However, the market absorption capacity remains limited, with only four enterprises purchasing approximately 3,000 tons per year.

Additionally, there are approximately 80 small-scale buyers in Bao Lam, Di Linh, Lam Ha districts and Bao Loc City handling about 13,000 tons annually. The remaining avocados are mostly sold by farmers directly to traditional markets, acquaintances, small-scale buyers, or through online platforms.

In an effort to promote sustainable avocado consumption and market development, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong Province has conducted surveys to identify potential buyers and distribution channels for avocados in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho. This initiative aims to establish stable markets for avocados and other agricultural products from Lam Dong Province.

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