Nguyen Van That, 30, created an orchard cooperative with an annual revenue of 1 billion VND (47,600 USD) in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang.

He received the "Creative Young" award from the Central Youth Union in 2012 for his accomplishments.

Last year, That-founded Thanh Phuoc Agricultural Cooperative provided more than 200,000 seedless lemon seedlings to local farmers and bought 60 tonnes of fruit. The seedless breed of lime has become increasingly popular.

Thanh Phuoc buys about a tonne of fruit per day at 30,000 VND per kilo to sell to supermarkets and wholesale markets in the south. It also exports to Middle Eastern and European countries through local ex-import enterprises.

Last year, That invested a large portion of his own money into the cooperative to install an international-standard cold storage system and drying room.

He said seedless lemon trees are ideal because they are easy to grow and could be harvested year-round. The co-op harvests an average of 30 to 40 tonnes per hectare.

The price fluctuates between 20,000 VND and 30,000 VND per kg, earning a net profit of 400 million VND (19,000 US D) per hectare.

The co-op has 84 member farmers with a total of 97 hectares, all of whom have met VietGAP and GlobalGAP fruit-planting standards since 2012.

To reach the standards, member farmers take technical training courses on fertiliser and pesticide use. The cooperative supplies farmers with high-quality seedlings and subsidises to keep their fruit at the same value as the local markets'.

There is a lot of demand abroad for lime fruit, but the co-op can't keep up with import-export enterprise demand. So it suggested Hau Giang southern province's People's Committee open a 200ha pilot field to grow more.
The co-op would assist with seedlings, the production process and purchasing fruit.

This year the co-op plans to order 400 seedless lime trees from the Southern Fruit Research Institute, aiming at expanding high-quality seedling production.-VNA