The Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang has begun growing seedless king oranges on a pilot basis in Chau Thanh District.

Farmers have received support to grow 4,000 seedless king orange trees from the province's Agriculture Extension Centre and the Chau Thanh District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau. All of the seedlings are expected to be planted by the end of July.

The seedlings were multiplied from first-line seedless king-orange trees created by the Southern Fruit Research Institute.

Seedless king oranges are not new to the country, as they have been grown in a few other provinces.

Nguyen Van Truong, deputy head of the bureau, said the district looked forward to exporting the seedless oranges.

Over the past few years, farmers in Hau Giang have earned high profits up to 700 million VND (33,300 USD) to 1 billion VND (47,600 USD) per ha a year from growing seeded king oranges.

In Phung Hiep District's Hoa My Commune, for instance, all 19 farming households in Hamlet 3 switched from growing other crops to seeded king oranges. Trinh Thanh Sang, head of Hamlet 3, turned his 1 ha of banana trees into a king orange orchard, earning profits 20 times higher. Previously, all families in Hamlet 3 planted mostly banana or sugarcane plants.

However, the rapid switch to king orange cultivation while farmers lack proper farming techniques and high-quality seedlings have contributed to outbreaks of citrus-greening disease.

The province has nearly 10,000ha of seeded king orange trees, mostly in Nga Bay Town and Chau Thanh District.-VNA