|Farmers are growing vegetables for Tết in Tiền Giang Province’s Châu Thành District. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
HCM CITY — Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are expecting good harvests and selling prices of vegetables grown for the coming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival, which falls on January 22.
They have increased vegetable growing areas for Tết as demand for vegetables for the festival is higher compared to normal days.
In Sóc Trăng Province, farmers are growing about 2,500ha of vegetables, watermelon and corn, according to the province’s Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.
Nguyễn Thành Phước, head of the sub-department, said the prices of most vegetables are stable, but the prices of some vegetables such as lettuce and chives have been increased slightly to VNĐ3,500-7,000 (15-30 US cents) a kilogramme.
Farmers in Sóc Trăng are harvesting red onion, white radish and other kinds of vegetables to sell for Tết.
Cao Thành Hiệp in Sóc Trăng’s Châu Thành District said his family grew 2,000sq.m of white radish for Tết and is expected to earn a profit of nearly VNĐ20 million ($860).
White radish has an average yield of 4-5 tonnes per 1,000sq.m and traders now buy it at a price of VNĐ5,000 a kilogramme, he said.
Traders in Sóc Trăng are busy buying vegetables to sell them inside and outside the province.
Nguyễn Hoài Hận, a trader in Sóc Trăng’s Mỹ Xuyên District, said sales of vegetables will begin increasing sharply when it is one week away from Tết.
Traders in the province now sell dozens of tonnes of vegetables, mostly cabbage, cucumber, white radish and chives, to other southern provinces and cities, he said.
Vegetables such as cabbage and corn have a short maturity of 2.5-3 months but they offer a profit of three to four times higher than growing rice, according to farmers.
In Tiền Giang Province, farmers are growing more than 20,000ha of vegetables with an estimated output of 400,000 tonnes, according to the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
To help farmers get higher profits for Tết, the department has provided farmers advanced farming techniques and encouraged them to grow vegetables to high quality standards.
Tiền Giang’s clean vegetable co-operatives each supply 2-3 tonnes of more than 20 kinds of clean vegetables to the market a day, and this quantity is estimated to double on Tết, according to the co-operatives.
In Cà Mau Province, farmers in Cà Mau City have used advanced farming techniques to grow vegetables and watermelon, which is one of the most popular fruits during Tết.
Cà Mau City’s Lý Văn Lâm Commune is well known for its watermelon and is growing 94.5ha of the fruit, including 22ha planted to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
Lâm Hoàng Sơn in the commune has planted watermelon for 17 years and started growing the fruit to VietGAP standards three years ago.
“Previously I earned a profit of VNĐ10-15 million ($430-600) from growing 1,000sq.m of watermelon. After growing the fruit to VietGAP standards, I earn a profit of more than VNĐ20 million ($860),” he said.
Mạc Ngọc Truyền, chairman of the Lý Văn Lâm Farmers Association, said farmers who do not grow VietGAP-certified watermelon have also applied advanced techniques to grow the fruit to increase yield and quality and secure food safety.
The commune’s watermelon growing areas use plastic mulch to cover soil beds to prevent the growth of grass and diseases, reduce tending and save irrigation water, he said.
The Cà Mau City Farmers Association has encouraged farmers to grow vegetables to VietGAP standards to ensure food safety.
“Besides traditional vegetables grown for Tết, this Tết, farmers in Cà Mau City also grew honeydew melon, jujube and grapes in combination with offering tourism services,” said Nguyễn Lung Lăng, chairman of the Cà Mau City Farmers Association. VNS