Part 1: The difficult start
From the “crack-brained” in Long Bien market.
From 1999 backwards, Da xanh pomelo was not considered favorite fruit. This fruit was grown scarcely in the West of Vietnam, each garden has several pomelo trees of which falling fruits are used only for presentation or worship.
At that time, Mr. Dam Van Huong was a trader of a King orange granary. Realizing the status of King orange growing and consumption instable, he decided to try his luck with Da xanh pomelo. In 1999, his Huong Mien Tay fruit granary bought the first Da xanh pomelos in Ben Tre at low price of 2.000-3.000/kg. It was rumored that farmers would rather sell the fruit at low price than make it a dump. However, that was the first difficulty as output was still invisible.
He hired truck to bring the pomelo to Sai Gon but they were all returned. To safe fee, he encouraged the traders not to throw the fruit away but invite customers to try. In Saigon market, Hung was completely failed. Not surrendering, he sent Da xanh pomelo to Hanoi and the result is not more optimistic as the Hanoi people got used to sweet, less succulent and yellow-peeled Dien or Doan Hung pomelo.
Not being despondent, Hung went to Hanoi to do “marketing” for Da xanh pomelo. He stood at the middle of Long Bien market, peeled each fruit to show succulent and pink pomelo sections. He announced: “ This is Da xanh pomelo of the South, first time to appear in Hanoi. Please try some. Pomelo is so good for your health…”. At that time, he was thought to be “crack-brained” or abnormal. He continuously stood in the market and sounded until a person agreed to try. Then he presented him some pomelos. Gradually, there were customers to buy his fruits. That was his patience to make Hanoi people to absorb Da xanh pomelo. That was also the way the owner of Huong Mien Tay got first success in bringing Da xanh pomelo to customers.
To “benefactor” of Da xanh pomelo.
After the first success, Da xanh pomelo became “the golden tree” of farmers of Ben Tre province and surrounding areas with its price step by step rises at spectacular figures. In 1990, Hung bought Da xanh pomelo from gardens at 2000- 3000 VND/ kg, which increased to 8000 in 2000 and in 2015, that is 40,000-50,000 VND/ kg.
Over the past years, after harvest time, with 1ha of Da xanh pomelo, farmers get from 600 million to 1 billion VND of revenue, which is much higher than Nam Roi pomelo- another reputable fruit of the South West. On special holidays or at Tet, the volume of Da xanh pomelo consumed increases sharply, traders try to find and buy this kind of fruit everywhere, from small gardens.
Separately, Huong Mien Tay of Dam Van Hung does not only harvest Da xanh pomelo in his own garden but he also invests a line of packaging and cold storage with capacity of 1,400 tons to collect products from gardens who meet requirements of VietGAP or GlobalGAP.
Year 2007 marked the first watershed when 20 tons of Da xanh pomelo was exported to German market and the product was loved by consumers after a short time. Since then, there have been many foreign traders and enterprises to come to Huong Mien Tay and other gardens to search for Da xanh pomelo supply sources. However, very few of them dare to sign the export contracts as the product even has not been sufficient for domestic market.
Being different from other kinds of fruit of which grade 1 product is exported, Da xanh pomelo is taken grade 2 product to export after sufficient supply to domestic market, but this fact does not cause bad effect on its prestige. With special attraction of Da xanh pomelo, speciality of South West of Vietnam, export opportunities are always available for gardeners who can meet requirements of VietGAP or GlobalGAP.
Mr. Dam Van Hung with his Huong Mien Tay fruit granary is only one typical example of enterprises who gain success with Da xanh pomelo. There are many other enterprises and small gardeners are shifting to investment in nursery gardens and land for Da xanh pomelo to meet export requirements.
Part two of the “magic story” of Da xanh pomelo will clarify potentiality of Da xanh pomelo.
VCCCI is searching enterprises, gardens, partners who can provide Da xanh pomelo of satisfied quality and want to export their products, especially to Canada and US. Markets. Please contact VCCCI office in Vietnam to become our member and possess opportunities to trade with International market.