Watermelon, dragon fruit and other agriculture produce are being sold for VND 3,000-8000 ($0.13-0.35) per kilogram in HCMC and Hanoi since the China export situation remains grim.
In HCMC’s Districts 12, Binh Thanh, Go Vap, and others, vendors can be seen on sidewalks selling large piles of fruits at extremely low prices.
“This type of watermelon was typically sold at VND25,000 ($1.09) per kilogram in recent years, but this year we are selling it at half price because farmers cannot export it,” Cuong, a vendor in Tan Binh District, said.
Cuong and his wife buy the fruit from farmers in Long An Province at VND8,000 and sell them at VND12,000.
A vendor in Go Vap District, Hoang, said he was selling at almost no profit because of the high transportation costs.
The container pileup at the Chinese border has persisted for three months now, forcing drivers to return to cities and sell them at half or a third of the export price.
In the northern province of Lang Son, which has some key border gates, 1,378 trucks were stuck as of Monday, with more than three-fourths of them carrying fruits, according to the customs agency.
Local customs officers said the number of trucks turning around has increased in the last few days and could continue to rise.
They typically go to Hanoi and try to sell them there.
Thanh, a vendor in Long Bien District, said he recently sold 200 cases of banana at “super low” prices, and would sell jackfruit and watermelon in the coming days.
“Export prices of fruit have been dropping in the last three months, and so we sell them at low profits mostly to support the drivers and export companies”.
The fruits are also sold online at around VND5,000 per kilogram of watermelon, VND6,000 per kilogram of banana and VND4,000 per kilogram of dragon fruit.
Some exporters are considering abandoning China altogether and focusing on other markets.
“After this batch, we will stop buying from farmers for a while to find new markets. Exports will continue to be difficult if China keeps its Covid-19 regulations tight for the rest of the year,” the head of a banana export company, who asked not be named, said.
China is one of the biggest importers of Vietnamese fruits. Exports of agriculture, forestry and fishery to this country in the first two months surged 20.9 percent year-on-year to $8 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
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