The historical drought with saltwater intrusion had a significant impact on Vietnamese farmers and fruit exporters in 2020. It is predicted that the dry season in 2021 will most likely come sooner than in previous years. Mary is a sales export manager at the Vietnamese fruit export company True Fruits Co., Ltd. She recently shared her insights into current conditions in the local coconut sector.
Supply shortage pulled up the market price
During the first half-year of 2020, the saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta reached a historical high. Ben Tre province, the so-called “coconut land”, suffered badly from the drought disaster. “Although coconut trees are reputedly saltwater resistant, the severe saltwater intrusion has resulted in coconut trees dropping blossom. As a result, the coconut production in Vietnam decreased by around 20% compared with the same period last year.” Mary said.
“Besides the low production level, the size of coconuts is also smaller than the previous year. The normal weight of export coconuts is between 700g – 1200g/fruit, but in the 2020 season, most of the coconuts we exported weighed around 600g per fruit.”
When talking about the upcoming season, Mary said, “We think the sector will face the same problem in 2021. The Vietnam Southern Institute of Irrigation Science predicts that 2021 will be a year of high salinity. Relevant authorities have to take initiative in water storage measures right now when water resources are not affected by salinity, and at the same time have to be proactive. Water storage measures protect orchards and domestic water to minimize damage caused by drought.
Customers have an increasing demand for bamboo straw
True Fruits launched an eco-packing concept last year. The new packing material is getting increasing attention from their customers. “At the beginning, we just started a trial for using the bamboo straw to replace the plastic material packing. But surprisingly, we received big orders from our partners in Japan, South Africa, and South America. We have been told such bamboo straw is very popular in local retail chains.” Mary said.
“More and more customers are caring about eco-friendly products nowadays, and bamboo straw is a new invention with good potential. We are trying our best to provide a variety of eco-friendly products and find out the niche way to live more closely with the environment. This year, we plan to expand the product based on the high demand from the overseas markets.”
Easy to open the coconut with environmentally-friendly packaging
Coconuts contain many types of beneficial nutrients. The fruits can provide not only a good source of mineral salts but are also good for supporting people’s immune system. “During Covid-19, coconut consumption is increasing in part due to these reasons. However, the fact is that coconuts have a very hard shell that requires a special tool to open. Sometimes consumers bring coconuts home from the supermarket, but do not know how to open them.”
To solve this problem, True Fruits developed a new product called the “ring pull coconut”. “Consumers only need to pull the ring and drink the coconut water like a can of soft drinks. One specialty of the “pull-ring coconut” is that the material of the straw is bamboo instead of plastic.
Besides coconuts, True Fruits also exports large volumes of a variety of tropical fruits such as pomelo, limes, and ginger.