Farmers tend a watermelon farm in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province’s Long Điền District. – VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Nhị
HCM CITY – The Tết (Lunar New Year) watermelon crop has been a lucrative one for farmers in the southern region.
In Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province, they grew nearly 200ha of watermelon, mostly in Long Điền, Đất Đỏ and Châu Đức districts and Bà Rịa City, according to the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Phạm Văn Quang, who grows the fruit on 2,000sq.m in Long Điền, said the yield was higher than last year since the weather was favourable.
He had a yield of 1,500 fruits, and traders bought them in advance for VNĐ10,000 a kilogramme, and he ended up earning VNĐ15 million (US$650), he said.
“This time farmers are harvesting the fruit in time for Tết and getting higher prices than previous years.”
Most farmers sold their crop to traders around two weeks before Tết while some have decided to sell directly to end consumers.
Tư Tuất of Long Điền District said he planned to sell his watermelons at the local market during Tết since selling them to traders did not fetch a good price.
In the market the price was VNĐ15,000 - 20,000 a kilogramme, he said.
“This year the watermelons are good looking and farmers are very happy.”
Watermelon is in great demand during Tết as a traditional fruit used for offerings on altars and eaten during the festival. Large and good looking fruits are preferred as offerings.
In Hậu Giang Province’s Phụng Hiệp District, yields have been low but high prices have ensured good incomes for farmers.
The district, the province’s largest watermelon producer during Tết, has 265ha under the fruit this year, 100ha more than last year, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Its farmers harvested around 70 tonnes of various varieties of the fruit and signed contracts with traders at the time of cultivation.
Farmers in the southern region have grown high-yield, high-grade varieties like Phù Đổng, An Tiêm, Rồng Xanh, and Mặt Trời Đỏ.
Many use farming techniques like using plastic sheets to cover the ground to block the growth of wild grasses.
Farmers in Cà Mau City’s Lý Văn Lâm Commune, the largest watermelon producer in Cà Mau Province, have grown 94ha of watermelon for Tết, including 17ha grown to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards that yield an average of 30 tonnes per hectare.
They sell their fruits locally and to HCM City. – VNS