The problem though lies in the fact that these agricultural foods are still being sold locally at very high prices with many vendors along sidewalks displaying prices of watermelons at VND 10,000 per kg or even VND 15,000 per kg; dragon fruits at VND 15,000 to 20,000 per kg; and durian for VND 60,000 to 80,000 per kg. Although other wiser sellers have reduced sale prices to more affordable rates such as dragon fruits at VND 10,000 per kg and watermelons for around VND 5,000 per kg.
However, in these difficult times there are some entrepreneurs who have created innovative products to sell. One such entrepreneur is Mr. Kao Sieu Luc, General Director of ABC Confectionery Company, and President of the International Association of Bread in Southeast Asia, who has brought out a unique product called ‘dragon fruit bread’. He had joined hands with farmers to help them grow and sell dragon fruits, but when the borders were closed, the price of dragon fruit fell drastically. Mr. Luc then set about with his company's research and development team to successfully create a unique consumer product he called ‘dragon fruit bread’ which is now selling as a processed food product throughout the country. Many shops and supermarkets have now launched dragon fruit bread, and customers are happily buying this tasty bread from shelves.
Soon after launching the dragon fruit bread, people also saw this “King of Bread”, as Mr. Luc is popularly known, to make ‘watermelon bread’ and ‘durian dragon fruit cake’. Mr. Luc partnered with durian brand 6 Ri to start the durian dragon fruit dishes and many other creations made from durian. In the near future it is clear that ABC's plans for creating new and innovative breads and cakes is unlimited.
Besides “King of Bread”, there are also many other businessmen such as Mr. Le Duy Toan, Director of Duy Anh Food Company and Ms. Nguyen Thu Hong, Director of Carafoods Company who are researching and constantly creating great consumer products. Mr. Le Duy Toan and his team of researchers created two new consumer products, the watermelon rice noodle and dragon fruit rice paper, while Ms. Nguyen Thu Hong has just launched a two-skin grilled chopped fish covered with dragon fruit.
Fresh agriculture produce is a highly perishable product, and involves risk and volatility, because agriculture relies not only on domestic consumption but also on international consumption. This makes agriculture products highly dependent on commodity market volatility. This calls for innovation in dire times to salvage this industry. Participation of many small and medium enterprises in processing of vegetables and fruits will relieve dependency on large factories. The innovative tactics employed by the above entrepreneurs is a promising direction for Vietnam's fruit and vegetable produce.
A new and innovative rescue plan is therefore vital to adding value in the supply chain of all agricultural produce. This requires the cooperation of state agencies and the people in ensuring safe raw material is accessed in areas according to domestic and international standards, and then raise the value of agricultural products whether these are fresh or processed.
When talking about deep frozen or processed agricultural products, especially fruits and vegetables, people are in actual fact referring to the trillion-dollar factories that produce these supermarket products such as juices, dried foods, and frozen foods in plastic packages. However, the numbers of such factories are still quite limited and they do not help the ground roots agricultural industry in any concrete way.