SOFRI wants royalty from new dragon fruit variety

Pham Thai

Foreign guests try white-flesh and purple-flesh dragon fruits created by SOFRI - Photo: Thai HangForeign guests try white-flesh and purple-flesh dragon fruits created by SOFRI – Photo: Thai Hang

SOFRI Director Nguyen Minh Chau said his institute and the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research would jointly develop and commercialize purple-flesh dragon fruit. The New Zealand partner will commercialize this dragon fruit variety and then pay SOFRI royalty, help the institute upgrade this variety and study new types, he said.

Royalty will make up 2-5% of the total exports of purple-flesh dragon fruits, Chau told the Daily on the sidelines of the launch of a US$4-million agricultural project sponsored by the government of New Zealand in HCMC on Wednesday.

It took SOFRI ten years to create the purple-flesh dragon fruit variety, which has not been sold in the market yet.

“After the dragon fruit type with red flesh was successfully created in 2005, purple-flesh dragon fruit is our latest invention, but we’re having difficulty bringing it into the market due to financial distress and the lack of experience in export.”

“We want to follow the international example, meaning a research institute creates new varieties and gives them to companies for production, packaging and export, and they pay the institute royalty,” said Chau.

He said SOFRI had tried to discuss this issue with many dragon fruit trading companies in Vietnam but failed.

He informed that under the agreement with New Zealand, Vietnamese companies would not be able to export purple-flesh dragon fruits to the markets where New Zealand firms have sold this type of fruit to.

Tran Ngoc Hiep, chairman of Hoang Hau Dragon Fruit Co. Ltd., one of the nation’s largest dragon fruit traders, remarked it was difficult to distinguish between purple-flesh dragon fruits and red-flesh dragon fruits, the latter strain having been long available in the market.

On the visit to Vietnam of Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General of New Zealand, the Vietnam/New Zealand New Premium Fruit Variety Development Project was officially launched on Wednesday.

The project worth US$4 million will be carried out in the next five years, aimed at supporting sustainable economic development in Vietnam through the development and commercialization of high-value fruits. The project will be jointly implemented by the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research, SOFRI and Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Post-Harvest Technology.