VietNamNet Bridge – Farmers in the Mekong Delta are now harvesting their speciality fruits to meet market demand during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Phụng (Phoenix) pineapples grown in Tien Giang Province’s Tan Phuoc District attract customers during Tet (Lunar New Year). — VNS Photo Ngoc Diep
In Dong Thap 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 VND30,000-40,000 ($1.3-1.7) per kilo. The cost is expected to rise as Tet nears.
Nguyen Van Hong, who has 0.7ha of red mandarin in Long Hau 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 Vinh Thoi Commune will provide about 200 red mandarin trees planted in pots, a year-on-year drop of 60 per cent, according to Luu Van Rang, head of the group.
Each red mandarin tree pot sells for VND2-8 million ($86-345) and up to VND10 million ($431).
“Many traders are buying the pots as ornamental trees for Tet, but we don’t have enough to satisfy demand,” Rang said.
Farmers are still earning hundreds of million dong per hectare, he added.
Nguyen Van Thuc, deputy director of the Hoa Loc Mango Cooperative in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Be, said that Hoa Loc mango type 1 is selling for VND80,000-VND90,000 ($3.5-3.9) per kilo, and type 2 for VND70,000 ($3) per kilo at his garden.
The price of the mango will increase because supply is lower this year.
In Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces, farmers who grow green-skinned grapefruit are waiting for a bumper harvest ahead of Tet season.
Dang Van Nam, a farmer in Soc Trang’s Ke Sach 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 Tet, he said.
Dam Van Hung, owner of Huong Mien Tay Company, who trades green-skinned grapefruit in Ben Tre Province, said the fruit is sold for VND30,000 ($1.3) per kilo on normal days. Near Tet, the price will increase to VND50,000-60,000 ($2.2-2.6) per kilo.
Fruit with strange shapes are also popular with customers who want to have special gifts for Tet.
Phu Tan Commune farmers in Hau Giang Province’s Chau Thanh District will provide 8,000–9,000 fruit with odd shapes for Tet.
Vo Trung Thanh, 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 Tet 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 VND300,000 – VND800,000 ($13-34), a fruit engraved with a gold bullion shape for VND700.000 – VND750.000 ($30-32), and a fruit engraved with lucky words like Tài-Lộc (Wealth-Good Fortune) for VND650.000 – VND700.000 ($28-30).
Watermelons with a gold bullion shape sell for VND700.000 ($30) each.
Phụng (phoenix) and son (red-skin) pineapples in Tien Giang Province’s Tan Phuoc District are among the specialities on the list of strange and unusual products available for Tet.
Farmers in Thanh My Commune will provide more than 1,000 phụng and son pineapples for Tet, a local agricultural official, Nguyen Tat Linh, said.
The phụng pineapples have a colourful appearance and strange shape, with a tail open wide like that of a phoenix.
Huynh Hoang Thang, 51, a pineapple farmer in the commune’s My Loc Hamlet, said he grows one crop of son and phụng pineapple a year for Tet.
He sells a red-skin pineapple for VND10,000 ($0.43) and a phoenix pineapple for VND30,000 to VND300,000 ($1.3-13), depending on their shape.