China has imposed a four-week ban on dragon fruit imports through a major Vietnamese border gate after detecting Covid-19 in some previous shipments.
The ban, to last until January 26 on delivery through the Huu Nghi Border Gate in Lang Son Province, applies to four varieties of dragon fruit shipped from the central province of Binh Thuan and the southern province of Long An.
Chinese customs had detected the coronavirus in some consignments between November 20 and December 27.
Huu Nghi is the second largest border gate for dragon fruits exports to China, accounting for 5 percent of the total, Vo Huy Hoang, chairman of the Binh Thuan Province Dragon Fruit Association, said.
China earlier also banned imports through the biggest border gate, Tan Thanh in the same province, which accounts for 90 percent of all dragon fruit shipped to that country, he said.
Due to the ban, around 400 container trucks have returned from the border to sell the fruits in Vietnam at an estimated 30 percent loss, he said.
They will sell the fruit in Hanoi for VND2,500 ($0.11) per kilogram, or 10 percent of the export price.
As dragon fruits keep only for a month, many drivers had to quickly distribute the fruit since they had already spent days traveling to and waiting at the border.
Other agriculture produce are also struggling to enter China, the biggest importer of Vietnamese fruits, since it has been tightening Covid safety measures for over a month.
In Lang Son, 3,838 trucks were waiting to cross the border as of December 28, mostly with agriculture produce.
Some drivers abandoned the plan to cross the border and instead sold their jackfruit in Hanoi at VND8,000-15,000 per kilogram, 60-70 percent lower than the export price.
Farmers in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands regions are cutting the prices of jackfruit, watermelon and dragon fruit by around 40 percent as a result.
China imported $8.4 billion worth of Vietnamese agriculture produce in the first 11 months of 2021, down 17 percent year-on-year.
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