Farmers prepare special food for lunar New Year hinh anh 1Dried fish is prepared for Tet (Lunar New Year) festival in Cai Doi town, Phu Tan ​district in the southern province of Ca Mau. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA/VNS) - Farmers and food producers in the Mekong Delta are busy preparing speciality fruits and foods to meet burgeoning demand for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which falls on February 16 this year.

Vo Trung Thanh, chairman of the Phu Tri A Agricultural Extension Club in Hau Giang province’s Chau Thanh District, said club members are expected to provide about 6,000 pomelos shaped like wine gourds with words or images embossed on the fruits. 

The typical images include a gold coin, a piece of gold bullion, or a word written in calligraphy.

"My family has produced about 500,” Thanh told Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper.

Thanh said heavy rainfall this year had created favourable conditions for pomelo trees to grow, but because of an extra lunar month, flowering for harvest at Tet had been affected.

“Last Tet, my club supplied about 10,000 pomelos, but this year the output fell by 40 percent. Prices are the same as in previous years, 300,000 VND to 1.2 million VND, depending on style,” he said.

Customers have signed contracts to buy half the output of the club, he said.

Tran Thanh Liem, of Can Tho City’s Ninh Kieu district, said he would provide about 300 pairs of gold bullion-shaped watermelon with the words Tai-Loc (good fortune), compared to 450 pairs in good years.

"Regarding price, it will not increase but will be the same as the previous year, with watermelons weighing 2-2.2 kg each costing about 3 million VND per pair, and 1.5-1.7kg each about 2.5 million VND per pair. These watermelons can be displayed for about two months," Liem said.

In the last three years, mangoes with calligraphy have been preferred by many consumers..

Huynh Thanh Khoa, from Tan Thuan Dong commune in Dong Thap province’s Cao Lanh city, said many customers had placed orders for mangoes with calligraphy, but due to erratic weather, he is not sure how mango trees will yield fruit and has thus not accepted deposits from customers. 

Mangoes with one word written in calligraphy are priced about 200,000 VND each, and those with two words cost about 300,000 VND each.

The famous dried snakehead-fish processing establishments in Cho Moi and Thoai Son districts in An Giang province are also increasing output for Tet.

According to government agencies, although the market demand has surged, traditional dried snakehead fish processing establishments have supplied only five tonnes to wholesale traders in Long Xuyen city in the province.

From the wholesale market, the dried fish are distributed to many other localities, including HCM City.

Dried snakeskin gourami fish also in high demand for Tet.

Trang Phuoc Kha, owner of a dried snakeskin gourami processing establishment in An Phu district in An Giang province, said his dried fish-making village had started to make Tet products more than half a month ago.

However, most of the large-scale processing facilities are concerned about the high cost of raw materials and other costs, while the price of dried fish has dropped by 50,000 VND per kg to 60,000-130,000 VND a kilo compared to last year.

"We are currently suffering losses at the current prices, but still have to keep our long-time business relationships," Kha said.-VNA/VNS