Luong Kim Tien has never been happier working on his dragon fruit farm in the Binh Thuan Province of Vietnam.
He used to grow the fruits with minimal planning, making it very hard to expand his production. Since joining a farmers’ organization that works in partnership with the Binh Thuan Fruits and Greens Company, Tien has been following a new production process with good results.
“My sales increased by 30 percent and the quality of my dragon fruits has improved,” Tien said while standing on his 1,300-tree farm.
The Vietnam Agriculture Competitiveness Project, supported by the World Bank, is promoting these partnerships. Farmers received around $2,000 from the project to purchase farm equipment and supplies, such as modern watering systems and compact light bulbs, as part of using new production methods.
Agriculture experts from the company provide regular advice to the farmers on production techniques and disease prevention. In addition, hundreds of farmers attended trainings on negotiations, communication, planning, and management skills.
“With our new skills, we can come to a win-win solution when negotiating contracts with the company,” said Pham Huu Truong, leader of the Ham Lien 1 farmers’ organization.
Before the partnerships, farmers often switched crops – from rice to vegetables to fruits – depending on whichever had the highest selling price at the time of planting. With this practice, however, they were at risk of losing profit when prices dropped at harvest time.
To protect them from sudden changes in prices and other risks that affect yields, farmers and companies agree on volume and price before production begins.