Delta fruit prices soar ahead of Tet

Off-season fruit harvests have been poor in most provinces in the Mekong delta, but prices have risen as export demand soars and sales for Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday increase.
Off-season fruit harvests have been poor in most provinces in the Mekong delta, but prices have risen as export demand soars and sales for Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday increase.

Cao Van Hoa, deputy director of Tien Giang province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the off-season durian crop had been affected by inclement weather and, as a result, prices had soared.

With the current durian price, farmers are earning 500 million VND (23.81 million USD) per ha, twice the amount for the same period last year, Hoa said.

With Tien Giang's 6,000ha of durian, most farmers produce off-season durian to earn higher prices by using special farming techniques.

However, this year, when the durian flower blossomed, there were heavy rains, which prevented the plant from bearing fruit, according to agriculture officials.

In Dong Thap province, which has 7,000ha of mango, prolonged rains and hot weather have also caused a poor crop of off-season mangos.

Meanwhile, farmers in An Giang province's Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts are harvesting a good crop of off-season mangos.

Traders have purchased the two districts' mangos to export to Cambodia and China.

The two districts grow a total of 2,000ha of mangos and most of them belong to three mango varieties, Thanh Ca, Hoa Loc and the grafted variety.

This is the first year that the two districts' mangos were exported in large numbers, reaching hundreds of tonnes over the past few months, according to the An Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Traders are purchasing Hoa Loc mangos at orchards for 20,000-30,000 VND (1USD-1.5 USD) a kg, up 5,000-7,000 VND against the same period last year.

Tran Van Mi, head of the Tri Ton District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said this season traders bought all mangos in the district for export and domestic consumption, especially the Thanh Ca mango, a speciality of the province.

The price of many fruits used extensively during Tet have risen in the Delta as traders have begun to buy more fruit for the country's biggest holiday season, which begins on February 3. Traders are buying Nam Roi grapefruit at orchards in Vinh Long and Hau Giang provinces at a price of 100,000 VND (5.1 USD) for 10, up 30,000 VND compared to last month.

Nguyen Van Khanh, who grows Nam Roi grapefruit in Phu Huu A Hamlet in Hau Giang province's Chau Thanh District, said: "Inclement weather has made grapefruit yields low compared to previous years. Traders are now buying grapefruit to stock for Tet."

About 50 percent of Nam Roi grapefruit in orchards in Phu Huu A Hamlet have been bought in advance by traders, according to growers.

Tran Van Sang, chairman of the My Hoa Nam Roi Grapefruit Cooperative in Vinh Long province, said: "The price of Nam Roi Grapefruit is at 8,000 VND (0.4 USD) a kg, the highest over the past year.

Farmers are very glad because the price of grapefruit for Tet has risen a lot."

The co-operative is estimated to supply about 100 tonnes of grapefruits for supermarkets and trade centres in HCM City, and southeastern and northern provinces this Tet. It will also supply 100 tonnes of grapefruit for wholesale markets this Tet. The price of Lai Vung mandarin, a speciality of Dong Thap Province, has increased by 6,000-7,000 VND (0.3 USD - 0.4 USD) a kg compared to the same period of last year. The price of King oranges at orchards in Hau Giang rovince is 17,000 VND (0.8 USD) a kg. Farmers said with this price, they could earn a 50 percent profit./.

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