Viet Nam News
by Ngọc Diệp
TIỀN GIANG — Farmers who grow Thúng grapefruit in Mỹ Tho City in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang expect to earn a good profit during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday season.
The grapefruit, which looks like a thúng (a large basket), weighs 5-7kg each, far more than other kinds of grapefruit which weigh over 1kg each.
Ngô Văn Tám, 64, who has about 20 Thúng grapefruit trees in the city’s Đạo Thạnh Commune, said this year he would provide about 140 fruit for the Tết market.
"When ripening the green-skin grapefruit develops a yellow skin and pink flesh and sour taste. It is commonly used as a decoration or gift during Tết," he said.
Every year, many traders and people come to his garden to buy the big grapefruit, but he refused to sell them.
He only sells his Thúng grapefruit to a company in HCM City that places deposits to buy all of his ripe fruit for VNĐ900,000 to VNĐ1 million (US$38.8-43.1) each one week before Tết.
Each year, he earns a profit of over VNĐ100 million ($4,310), he said. “Thanks to this, my family has a good condition to welcome a warm and happy Tết.”
He bought the seedlings from Châu Thành District’s Long An Commune in the province nearly 10 years ago. After three years of growing, the trees will bear fruit, he said.
“There are many people who try to grow this type of grapefruit, but not many people can be successful,” Tám said.
The fruit ripens eight to nine months after flowering, producing only one crop a year which he harvested for Tết.
Farmers need about seven to 10 fruit per tree to ensure product quality and long-term growth, he said.
Tám also uses the fruit at exhibitions on agricultural products in the city and neighbouring localities where visitors order seedlings.
He plans to expand his cultivation area, and is currently planting more 30 Thúng grapefruit trees. — VNS