Tuesday, October 15 2019

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Delta fruit farmers ready for Tết season

Update: January, 28/2019 - 14:00
Phụng (Phoenix) pineapples grown in Tiền Giang Province’s Tân Phước District attract customers during Tết (Lunar New Year). — VNS Photo Ngọc Diệp
Viet Nam News

MEKONG DELTA — Farmers in the Mekong Delta are now harvesting their speciality fruits to meet market demand during the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.

In Đồng Tháp Province’s Lai Vung District, about 800ha of quýt hồng (red mandarin) will provide more than 23,000 tonnes of fruit for the holiday.

This year, the area produced less than 10,000 tonnes of fruit because of problems such as disease.

All of the fruit has been ordered by traders, who are paying VNĐ30,000-40,000 ($1.3-1.7) per kilo. The cost is expected to rise as Tết nears.

Nguyễn Văn Hồng, who has 0.7ha of red mandarin in Long Hậu Commune, said he would harvest 20 tonnes of fruit, a 50 per cent decrease of output because of disease outbreaks.

A group of 10 farmers in the district’s Vĩnh Thới Commune will provide about 200 red mandarin trees planted in pots, a year-on-year drop of 60 per cent, according to Lưu Văn Ràng, head of the group.

Each red mandarin tree pot sells for VNĐ2-8 million ($86-345) and up to VNĐ10 million ($431).

“Many traders are buying the pots as ornamental trees for Tết, but we don’t have enough to satisfy demand,” Ràng said.

Farmers are still earning hundreds of million đồng per hectare, he added.

Nguyễn Văn Thực, deputy director of the Hòa Lộc Mango Cooperative in Tiền Giang Province’s Cái Bè, said that Hòa Lộc mango type 1 is selling for VNĐ80,000-VNĐ90,000 ($3.5-3.9) per kilo, and type 2 for VNĐ70,000 ($3) per kilo at his garden.

The price of the mango will increase because supply is lower this year.

In Vĩnh Long, Sóc Trăng, Bến Tre and Tiền Giang provinces, farmers who grow green-skinned grapefruit are waiting for a bumper harvest ahead of Tết season.

Đặng Văn Nám, a farmer in Sóc Trăng’s Kế Sách District, said traders from the Delta, HCM City and northern provinces had already ordered a large amount of fruit.

He expects to harvest the fruit one to two weeks before Tết, he said.

Đàm Văn Hưng, owner of Hương Miền Tây Company, who trades green-skinned grapefruit in Bến Tre Province, said the fruit is sold for VNĐ30,000 ($1.3) per kilo on normal days. Near Tết, the price will increase to VNĐ50,000-60,000 ($2.2-2.6) per kilo.

Fruit with strange shapes are also popular with customers who want to have special gifts for Tết.

Phú Tân Commune farmers in Hậu Giang Province’s Châu Thành District will provide 8,000–9,000 fruit with odd shapes for Tết.

Võ Trung Thành, head of the club of oddly-shaped fruit in the commune, said this year the output of shaped grapefruit fell by nearly 30 per cent compared to previous years because of inclement weather.

All of the fruit has been ordered, with deposits put down two months before Tết by traders from HCM City and other localities, he said.

Weighing from 1.2 to 1.5 kg, a normal hồ lô (wine gourd-shaped) grapefruit sells for VNĐ300,000 – VNĐ800,000 ($13-34), a fruit engraved with a gold bullion shape for VNĐ700.000 – VNĐ750.000 ($30-32), and a fruit engraved with lucky words like Tài-Lộc (Wealth-Good Fortune) for VNĐ650.000 – VNĐ700.000 ($28-30).

Watermelons with a gold bullion shape sell for VNĐ700.000 ($30) each.

Phụng (phoenix) and son (red-skin) pineapples in Tiền Giang Province’s Tân Phước District are among the specialities on the list of strange and unusual products available for Tết.

Farmers in Thạnh Mỹ Commune will provide more than 1,000 phụng and son pineapples for Tết, a local agricultural official, Nguyễn Tất Linh, said.

The phụng pineapples have a colourful appearance and strange shape, with a tail open wide like that of a phoenix.

Huỳnh Hoàng Thắng, 51, a pineapple farmer in the commune’s Mỹ Lộc Hamlet, said he grows one crop of son and phụng pineapple a year for Tết.

He sells a red-skin pineapple for VNĐ10,000 ($0.43) and a phoenix pineapple for VNĐ30,000 to VNĐ300,000 ($1.3-13), depending on their shape. — VNS

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