Farmers prepare special food for Tet

December 31, 2017 | 17:24
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Farmers and food producers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are busy preparing speciality fruits and foods to meet burgeoning demand for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which begins on February 16.
Dried fish is prepared for Tet(Lunar New Year)festival in Cai Doi Town, Phu Tan District in the southern province of Ca Mau. Farmers and food producers in the Cuu Long(Mekong) Delta are busy preparing food to meet burgeoning demand for Tet. - VNA/VNS Photo Huynh The Anh

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 the expression Tai-Loc (Wealth-Good Fortune), 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 per cent. Prices are the same as in previous years, VND300,000 to VND1.2 million, 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, compared to 450 pairs in good years.

In years with a bumper crop, 35 per cent of watermelons that have been grown in molds meet requirements, equivalent to 450 pairs.

In years with unfavourable weather or high rainfall, the rate has reached only 14 per cent, he said.

"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 VND3 million per pair, and 1.5-1.7kg each about VND2.5 million 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 VND200,000 each, and those with two words cost about VND300,000 each.

Dried fish

The famous dried snakehead-fish processing establishments in Cho Moi and Thoai Son districts in An Giang Province are 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.

Duong Hong Loan, owner of the Sau Loan dried snakehead fish establishment in Nui Sap town in Thoai Son District, said she had not sold fish directly to HCM City but to wholesale traders in Long Xuyen at prices ranging from VND150,000-200,000 a kilo.

The dried fish need to be dried outside for three to four sunny days to ensure that they will be delicious and not mold easily.

Thanks to processing in the traditional way, the dried fish have a natural aroma and are preferred by many consumers.

Nguyen Thi Kim Hue, owner of Kim Hue establishment in Cho Moi town, said to have delicious dried snakehead fish, processors must be careful in many stages, from raw material selection, cleansing the fish’s intestines and removing bones to marination and drying.

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 VND50,000 kg to VND60,000-130,000 a kilo compared to last year.

"There are three largest processing establishments and nearly 10 small establishments supplying dried fish for Tet for wholesales traders in Chau Doc, An Giang and HCM City, with hundreds of tonnes of dried fish of various sizes. We are currently suffering losses at the current prices, but still have to keep our long-time business relationships," Kha said.


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