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Mekong Delta farmers revel in a bountiful Tet

Update: January, 21/2012 - 09:08

CUU LONG DELTA — Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are preparing to enjoy a happy Tet (Lunar New Year), riding on bumper harvests and good farm produce prices.

Farmer Thach Van Tho of Thoai Son District's Vinh Phu Commune in An Giang Province said farmers in the locality would celebrate a prosperous Tet as they had reaped bumper harvests in all the three rice crops last year and obtained high prices as well.

"My family has 10ha of rice. Last year I planted three rice crops and got a high yield of 9-12 tonnes per ha for each crop. Thanks to this, I have more money to celebrate Tet."

Last year, most tra fish farmers in the Delta earned handsome profits because of high prices.

Nguyen Ngoc Hai, chairman of the Thoi An Seafood Co-operative in Can Tho City's O Mon District, said :"Last year, the price of tra fish only reduced during May – July period. In other months, prices were high and farmers could earn a profit of VND3,000-4,000 a kg."

The Thoi An Seafood Co-operative produced 11,000 tonnes of tra fish and all its members earned profits last year, he said.

"For this Tet, many members earned hundreds of million of dong from selling tra fish," he said.

In recent days, orchard owners in the Delta have been busy harvesting fruits, especially grapefruit, mangoes and mandarin, that have high demand during the Tet season.

Traders are now buying Nam Roi grapefruits at orchards in Vinh Long Province for VND110,000-200,000 (US$5.5-9.5) per dozen.

These prices ensure farmers have enough money to shop for their Tet celebrations, according to orchard owners.

Huynh Van Sang, deputy chairman of the Hoa Loc Mango Co-operative in Tien Giang Province's Cai Be District, said: "This is the third consecutive year that the co-operative has good business results so our members are excited to welcome Tet."

This Tet, many farmers have also earned high profits from creating fruits with special shapes as Tet decorations.

The special-shaped fruits are square and gold bullion-shaped watermelons, wine gourd-shaped grapefruits.

Farmer Tran Thanh Liem in Can Tho City's Binh Thuy District, for instance, created 400 water melons which are shaped like a gold bullion and has the word "Phuoc" (good fortune) carved on their peels.

These water melons are sold for VND3.5 million ($166) a pair.

Several farmers in Chau Thanh District's Phu Tan Commune in Hau Giang Province are harvesting 8,000 wine gourd-shaped grapefruits which have been purchased in advance with for VND300,000-700,000 ($14-33) a pair.

High yields

The Mekong Delta, the country's rice granary and major fruit and aquatic production area, last year achieved high outputs despite natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

Last year, the country's export of agricultural, seafood and forestry products reached US$25 billion, up 27.9 per cent against 2010. Of this the Delta contributed a significant part, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Kien Giang Province topped the country in paddy output last year, harvesting 3.92 million tonnes, up 420,000 tonnes against 2010.

The province's paddy yield also increased by 0.3 tonnes per ha against 2010 due to proper investment in cultivation techniques and agricultural inputs, according to the Kien Giang People's Committee. The province obtained an average yield of around 4.8 tonnes per hectare from its three crops.

Dong Thap's paddy output last year reached a record high of 3.1 million tonnes as the province gained a bumper harvest in all its three rice crops and developed the large-scale farm model.

Last year, Dong Thap achieved a growth rate of 13.55 per cent, 0.55 per cent higher than the province's target, according to the provincial People's Committee.

The Delta provinces have affirmed that agricultural production will remain the region's key economic sector this year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the delta provinces and Can Tho City to continue expanding the large-scale farm model to reduce production costs and increase rice quality and value. — VNS

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