|A farmer harvests seedless limes in Ben Luc District, Long An Province. The area used for cultivation in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Hau Giang has reached a record high of more than 1,000 ha, with just 600ha of limes bearing fruit. — Photo nongnghiep.vn
HAU GIANG (VNS) — The area used for seedless lime cultivation in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang has reached a record high of more than 1,000 hectares, with just 600ha of limes bearing fruit.
The mass shift to seedless limes has lowered prices, creating anxiety among local farmers.
In 2009, seedless lime plantations in Hau Giang only covered about 20ha. But since 2013, the price of seedless limes in Hau Giang has increased rapidly.
In May last year, the price rose to VND50,000 (US$2.2) per kg, almost double the previous month. This was the highest price ever in the local market. The price surge prompted local farmers to cut down their longan and rambutan trees to switch to seedless limes.
However, seedless lime prices have fallen to VND4,000 to VND6,000 per kg. This is the lowest price they've seen in the last three years.
Local farmer Nguyen Duc Le, who owns three hectares of seedless limes, said farmers would not profit at current prices. He also feared that the prices would continue to go down due to the increased supply.
"The mass shift to seedless limes hasn't just occurred in Dong Thanh Commune, but also in many other western provinces," said Le Vinh Bao, chairman of Dong Thanh Commune People's Committee.
Ngo Minh Long, head of the Hau Giang Agricultural Encouragement Centre, said one seedless lime tree could bear fruit for more than 10 years. So the seedless lime supply would increase yearly. However, domestic demand has not kept up with the increase in supply, leading an overabundance of the fruit.
"An urgent task for local agricultural authorities is to help farmers improve their cultivation skills to meet the Global and Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices to ensure export-level quality and stabilise growing areas," Long said.
Nguyen Van Chien, head of Chau Thanh District's Inter-agricultural Co-operative, said the biggest problem they faced was farmers' tendencies to gravitate toward the most profitable crops without an eye for the long-term effects of their strategies.
Moreover, they had not paid due attention to the quality of seedless lemon seedlings, which made export more difficult, Chien said. — VNS