Soc Trang Purple Onions Eye Making Inroads in Demanding Markets

2:37:14 PM | 18/9/2012

The certification from GlobalGAP (Global Good Agricultural Practices) standard is good news for Vinh Chau purple onion in Soc Trang province because this is like a passport for it to penetrate difficult markets where selling prices are often higher. Nonetheless, to go further, purple onion needs not only quality but also quantity. Hence, Soc Trang province must takes measures to help farmers understand the benefits and convince them to expand GlobalGAP standard onion production acreage.
The growth period of purple onion is short, two months or so. With the support of technology, the crop is planted in both dry and rainy seasons, thus ensuring stable income for growers throughout the year.
Farmers enjoyed their best ever harvests in 2010 and 2011 when selling prices surged to VND25,000 per kilo. The net margin for farmers was huge. High prices helped expand onion-growing areas. By the end of June 2012, the total purple onion growing area increased to 8,508 ha, of which Vinh Chau had the largest area with 8,035 ha while Long Phu and Tran De had small areas. Besides, other Mekong Delta provinces and cities like Tra Vinh, Kien Giang and Ben Tre also expanded their purple onion acreage, leading to oversupply and a price drop.
Although prices fluctuate from year to year, farmers live on onions from generation to generation. The crop ended poverty for thousands of households and enriched many growers. With the importance of the crop, Soc Trang province is taking measures to support its sustainable development. Specifically, it will zone out onion farming areas, building up its brand name and support businesses and investors to approach stable markets.
According to the Soc Trang socioeconomic development master plan till 2020 and the agricultural development plan till 2020, purple onion will be developed based on domestic and international demand.
To promote flexibility in the market, Soc Trang is strengthening technical assistance allowing farmers to harvest and preserve onions, to avoid being forced to sell at low prices right after harvest.
The province also continues supporting information about market prices and working with traders to ensure complete purchase for farmers. Products must thus be guaranteed in quality and food safety. In addition, the province encourages and attracts companies to sign full-purchase contracts with farmers. Functional agencies will provide technical supports for cultivation, trademark registration, product protection, market searching and ensured supply of purple onions to large markets.
Specially, Vinh Chau purple onion of Soc Trang has been certified with GlobalGAP standard. This is an activity in the framework of the project "Building GlobalGAP standard purple onion production zone in Vinh Chau, Soc Trang” launched in June 2011 with the participation of nine farmers and Duc Vinh Private Enterprise. The project covered an area of 4.5 ha.
Currently, Vinh Chau town is teaching farmers to apply GlobalGAP standard and processes for purple onion. Joining this production practice, all onions will be purchased by contracted traders at higher prices (10 percent to 15 percent). Vinh Chau is expanding this model to boost sales and narrow the gap between farmers and enterprises.
Khanh Linh