The supply of speciality fruits in the Mekong Delta for the coming Tet (Lunar New Year), which falls in mid-February, will be scarce because unfavourable weather has affected output, according to farmers.

In recent days, the price of speciality fruit like Nam Roi grapefruit, green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit and Hoa Loc mango has risen because of low supply.

Nguyen Van Khanh, who grows Nam Roi grapefruit in Hau Giang province's Chau Thanh district, said the price of Nam Roi grapefruit was 3,000 VND a kilo higher than the same period last year.

Nam Roi grapefruit is selling for 13,000-16,000 VND a kilo.

Traders at Nam Roi grapefruit orchards have left deposits in advance to buy fruit for Tet at 20,000-30,000 VND a kilo, but orchard owners do not have much to sell, Khanh said.

This year, only 20 percent of the flowers of Nam Roi grapefruit bore fruit, as bad weather affected output.

Dam Vinh Hung, owner of Huong Mien Tay, a fruit exporting firm in Ben Tre province, said the price of speciality fruits would increase significantly this Tet because of scarce supply.

The price of green-peel and pink flesh grapefruits are estimated to reach 60,000-80,000 VND (2.8 –3.8 USD) a kilo during Tet, he said.

Green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit are now selling at 35,000 VND (1.6 USD) kilo at orchards.

Supermarkets and traders in HCM City have placed orders to buy Hoa Loc mango with orchard owners in Tien Giang province's Cai Be district, but many orchard owners declined the orders because of a poor harvest.

Nguyen Van Sang, who owns 20ha of Hoa Loc mango in Cai Be district, said: "My orchard can supply about two tonnes for Tet compared to 20 tonnes last Tet."

Villages that produce speciality goods like dried shrimp, dried fish and rice paper in the delta have increased their production for Tet.

Duong Tien Khanh, who makes dried fish in Tra Vinh province's Duyen Hai district, said he has increased his output two to three times higher than normal.

For Tet, many people want to eat dried fish because they get tired of eating meat, he said.

"The orders of dried fish have increased in Tet in recent years," he said.

In Vinh Kim dried shrimp village in Tra Vinh province's Cau Ngang district, dried shrimp producers are concerned about the shortage of fresh river shrimp for their production.

Nguyen Thi Xuan Hong, owner of the Vinh Kim dried shrimp establishment, said the demand for dried shrimp for Tet was very high.

"A trader in HCM City has ordered eight tonnes of dried shrimp, but I worry because of the shortage of fresh river shrimp for production," she said.

The price of Vinh Kim dried shrimp is at 700,000 – 1.4 million VND (33 – 66 USD) a kilo and will be likely higher during Tet, she said.

In the delta, the prices of many fried fish species such as dried snake-head fish and dried snakeskin gourami have also begun increasing.

The price of dried snakeskin gourami has risen from 300,000 VND (14 USD) a kilo to 400,000 VND (19 USD) a kilo.

In An Giang and Dong Thap provinces, dried fish producers this year have introduced new products made from walking catfish and broadhead catfish.

In An Giang province, the price of fresh fish used to make dried fish has risen by 10-12 percent against the same period last year.

Tran Van Duc, who makes dried fish in An Giang's Tan Chau town, said despite the increase in price of fresh fish, he had tried to keep the price the same as last Tet.

In addition, more than 150 rice paper producers in My Long rice paper village in Ben Tre province's Giong Trom district have begun production for Tet, increasing their output two to three times higher than on normal days.

Many traders in HCM City and Can Tho have travelled to the village to order rice paper for Tet.-VNA