While Vinh orange, a speciality of central province of Nghe An, is promising a bumper crop this year, farmers are worried about consumption, local authorities said.

Hoang Van Thai, head of Quy Hop district's Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the district was one of the localities with the largest area of orange growing in the province and also owned the Vinh Orange brand.

"Although local residents were encouraged to expand the growing area as Nghe An province has great potential for orange cultivation, it was difficult to find a stable market for the fruit," he said.

Truong Thi Van, an agricultural authorities official from Minh Hop commune said this year the commune had over 1,000 ha of orange, an increase of 100ha compared to last year.

Despite the fact that the harvest season has just begun, orange productivity this year was predicted to be lower than last year, she said.

Due to the effects of prolonged hot weather, the oranges this year were not as fresh and attractive as usual, Van said.

Pham Thi Dung, who resides in Minh Hop commune, said she had hoped the yield would be higher than that of last year. But her family harvested about 1.5 tonnes of orange per 1 sao (equal to 360 sq.m).

She attributed the low productivity to abnormal weather.

Her family earned 450 million VND (20,000 USD) for 10 sao of orange with the price of 30,000 VND (0.8 USD) per kg.

According to Vo Thuy Hang, a salesperson from Vo Gia Farm, Vinh orange was favoured due to the fruit's wonderfully sweet taste and fragrance.

The price of orange in her farm ranged between 35,000 VND and 55,000 VND (1.5 -2.4 USD) per kg depending on the quality of orange.

Vinh orange's main consumption market was Vinh City and some high quality products were transported to Hanoi and other provinces, she said.

Hang said despite the fact that farmers received assistance on cultivation techniques they had struggled to find an outlet for their products.

Tran Trong Hoa, another grower in Minh Hop commune, agreed.

The consumption of oranges in the locality depended on small traders in the district or nearby districts who purchase and then sell to street vendors or at markets, he said.

He hoped that there would be an enterprise who were responsible for product's consumption.

"At that time, we only have to take care of orange and we will no longer suffer from the situation that private traders put pressure on farmers to sell their products at a very low price", Hoa said.

Nguyen Van Dung, chairman of Minh Hop Commune's People's Committee said it was impossible to compare the price of oranges this year with last year because the harvest season had just started.

However, experience from past years had shown that orange was a profitable product.

Farmers had to find an output for their products by themselves but consumption mostly relied on small traders, he said.

Dung emphasised the need for the establishment of a unit who would take care of consumption for farmers' products.-VNA