Farmers in the Mekong Delta, the country's largest fruit cultivation area, are busy preparing speciality fruits for the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, which begins on January 31.

Hoa Loc mango, Nam Roi grapefruit and Lai Vung pink mandarin are among the most in demand.

Nguyen Van Nghia, who planted 5,000sq.m of Nam Roi grapefruit in Vinh Long province's Binh Minh district, said he expected to harvest about four to five tonnes of grapefruits a few days before Tet.

"The price of Nam Roi grapefruit is expected to be higher or equal to the last Tet," he said.

In the previous Tet, Nam Roi grapefruits sold for 70,000-80,000 VND (3.3 - 3.8 USD) a kilo at wholesale markets.

Many grapefruit farmers earned large profits during the last Tet, Nghia said.

In Hau Giang province, the Phu Tri A Agriculture Extension Club in Chau Thanh district estimates that it will produce about 5,320 grapefruits shaped like a wine gourd.

The price of the grapefruit is expected to increase by 20 percent compared to the previous Tet, according to Vo Trung Thanh, the club chairman.

The gourd grapefruit sold for 300-700,000 VND during the previous Tet.

Pink mandarins in Dong Thap province's Lai Vung district are yielding 22,000-24,000 VND a kilo, up 4,000-5,000 VND against the same period last year.

With its beautiful pink colour and sweetness, Lai Vung pink mandarins are preferred by customers in Ho Chi Minh City and the central and northern regions.

Pham Van Lam in Lai Vung district's Long Hau commune said traders were now offering higher prices for Lai Vung pink mandarins.

Inclement weather has caused many Lai Vung pink mandarin flowers and young fruits to fall off plants too early, he said, adding that output could drop this year.

Lai Vung district has 1,120ha of pink mandarin, producing about 30,000-35,000 tonnes of fruit a year, according to the Lai Vung Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.

Huynh Van Ton, deputy head of the bureau, said that farmers were pleased with the high price of pink mandarin at the beginning of the harvest.

Farmers said they could earn a profit of 200 million VND from one hectare of pink mandarin.

However, farmers in Tien Giang province predicted the supply of Hoa Loc mango would not meet the Tet demand because of low output this year.

Nguyen Thanh Nhon, chairman of the Hoa Loc Mango Co-operative, said his cooperative would supply about 20,000 tonnes of Hoa Loc mango for this Tet.

The price of Hoa Loc mango will be 75,000 VND a kilo, up about 20,000 VND compared to previous years, he said.-VNA