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Mekong Delta fruit prices drop as harvest peaks, supplies skyrocket

Update: June, 15/2013 - 09:56

HCM CITY (VNS)— With the Mekong Delta reaching the peak fruit harvest season and supply skyrocketing, the prices of many fruits have declined.

Cat Chu mango, a speciality of Dong Thap Province, is sold at the orchard for VND2,000-4,000 a kilogramme, down by around VND10,000 (US$0.4) since the beginning of this year.

Huynh Van Tan of Cao Lanh, Dong Thap's capital, said: "The price of Cat Chu mango is too low and many orchard owners have stopped harvesting their ripened mangoes."

Traders blamed the price decline also on competition from fruits arriving from the south-eastern region and Thailand.

In markets around the delta, fruits like mango, dragon fruit, rambutan, watermelon, and Nam Roi grapefruit are being sold cheap.

In Vinh Long Province and neighbouring Can Tho city, rambutan retails at VND5,000-7,000 per kilogramme compared to VND15,000-20,000 ($0.7-0.9)at the beginning of last month.

Dragon fruit is sold on roadsides in Can Tho at VND3,000-4,000.

In Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces, the price of mangosteen has plunged from VND30,000 ($1.4) a month ago to VND22,000-25,000.

The list goes on and on.

Bui Thanh Liem, head of the Cho Lach District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau in Ben Tre, said many farmers have used ripening techniques so that they can harvest their fruits during the Doan Ngo Festival, one of the country's most popular traditional festivals, which fell onJune 12, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

This has caused a glut, he said.

In HCM City, unusually large quantities of fruits like king orange, guava, sour sop, mangosteen, mango, and rambutan from the delta are being sold.

More than 1,500 tonnes of various kinds of fruits are transported daily to the Tam Binh Wholesale Agriculture Market in the city's Thu Duc District, according to the market management board.

But even amid the glut, the prices of some fruits remain stubbornly high, according to traders.

Green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruits grown in Ben Tre Province are now being bought by traders at VND60,000 ($2.8), VND26,000 ($1.2) higher than a year ago.

The supply of the grapefruit cannot meet demand since output has declined because of diseases, according to traders.

The Ben Tre-based Huong Mien Tay Company, a fruit distributor, can only buy 10 tonnes of the grapefruit daily compared to 30-40 tonnes early this year.

The company sells 90 per cent of its purchases to the north and 10 per cent to HCM City.

It said it has had to reject orders from Germany and Canada because the supply cannot even meet domestic demand. — VNS


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