Dragon fruit cooperatives get support to tackle COVID-19 impact

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Agricultural Extension Center of Binh Thuan province have worked together to support the dragon fruit cooperatives to maintain production linkages among cooperative members and poor farmers who have not yet worked at the cooperative, as well as maintaining jobs for poor workers.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has donated materials and equipment to 2,000 poor farming households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to revive their dragon fruit production in Binh Thuan province. 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Binh Thuan Agricultural Extension Center just handed over agricultural production equipment and materials including fertilizer (200,850 kg), 195,500 LED lights, water-saving irrigation systems for 13 hectares, and other equipment to support the management of 15 dragon fruit cooperatives and their members.

This is an activity funded by the Government of Japan to ensure that more than 2,000 cooperative households and poor laborers affected by COVID-19 do not lose their jobs.

Due to COVID-19, the export of dragon fruits this year has faced many difficulties, and consumption has decreased significantly. Many members of dragon fruit cooperatives face the danger of having to close down, forcing the reduction of labor. Thousands of poor farmers have had to abandon their planting area or no longer continue to invest in caring for the dragon fruits from the first and second quarters. It has made the lives of the poor farmers who are currently working in these cooperatives very difficult.

A recent UNDP assessment of the effects of COVID-19 and drought conducted in Binh Thuan province found that 54% of households are facing these extreme impacts. Therefore, cooperation between the UNDP and the Binh Thuan provincial Agriculture Extension Center is attempting to strengthen links between cooperatives, poor farmers, and unskilled workers.

itara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam said: “The UNDP wants to help Binh Thuan farmers maintain their livelihoods. Dragon fruit cooperatives have provided outlets and part-time jobs for laborers. The LED light bulbs and the drip irrigation systems will help dragon fruit farmers improve their productivity while saving electricity and water, thus reducing their input costs and carbon footprint as the Paris Agreement urges.

In addition, the project also supports construction items for preliminary processing houses, cold storage, and other technical assistance, such as training on dragon fruit intensive farming, improving cooperative leadership capacity, electronic software for traceability, and marketing skills through which cooperatives can meet the export standards of dragon fruits to foreign countries, contributing to the expansion of export markets for dragon fruit products.

Huong Diu