Vietnamese litchis served as appetizing fruit for Chinese
  • | VietNamNet | July 07, 2011 10:29 PM

The litchi orchards in Luc Ngan, the “chief litchi district” of Vietnam are ripening profusely. Chinese merchants have been waiting here for a couple of weeks to collect litchis to carry to their home country for sales.

Best products carried to China

Chinese merchants have been present in Luc Ngan since late June 2011--they rent warehouses to keep litchis and have begun collecting litchis from farmers, though litchis would only ripen profusely in mid July.

It is estimated that there are about 40 litchi collection points on the road from San Street in Phuong Son Commune to the central area of Luc Ngan district which lasts some ten kilometers. On Kim Street alone, there are nearly ten collection points where Chinese merchants collect and weight litchis themselves.

Saigon Tiep Thi’s reporters, who acted as Vietnamese merchants, seeking to purchase litchis to carry to the south for sale, came to see Mai, a woman on Kim Street, to ask to rent the 50 square metres of ground to keep litchis.

Mai told the merchants that they have to pay VND150,000 (USD7.2) a day in the rent for the ground, which is large enough to keep 15 tonnes of litchis a day.

Mai said that the rent is relatively low which is offered only to Vietnamese people. If Mai rents the ground to Chinese merchants, the rent would be no less than VND250,000 (USD12.1) a day.

“Go and ask Chinese merchants about the rent,” Mai told the Vietnamese merchants.

“H”, 40, a Chinese merchant, who is renting a warehouse on Kim Street, has confirmed that he has to pay 250,000 dong per day for the warehouse. He said that he and the other three men have been present here for the last three days during which they have collected more than 40 tons of litchis. The third container vehicle, carrying 15 tons of litchis is still lying at the Tan Thanh border gate in Lang Son province, waiting for the customs clearance.

H said the litchis will be carried to Kun Ming in Yun Nan for sale.

It seems that Vietnamese farmers prefer selling litchis to Chinese merchants to Vietnamese ones. While Vietnamese merchants have to stand on the roads and persuade Vietnamese farmers to sell litchis, Chinese merchants to do not have to do that, but they still can attract a lot of sellers.

Hoang Van Binh, a farmer in Phuong Son Commune, who has sold 1200 kilos of litchis to H at 13,000 dong per kilo, said that local residents all know the collection points of Chinese merchants. They whisper in each other ears that Chinese merchants pay higher prices and make decisions promptly.

Le Xuan Thuy in Giap Son Commune said that his family has got 4.3 tons of litchis this crop, but only 1.8 tons of best products can be sold to Chinese merchants at VND13,000-15,000 (USD0.63-0.72) per kilo. Meanwhile, the other 2.5 tonnes can only be sold to Vietnamese merchants at VND5,000 per kilo, who carry to the south.

In general, the collection by Chinese merchants goes very quickly. Just after two hours, they would stop purchasing when they have collected enough products for one container (about 15 tonnes).

Later farmers usually have to sell litchis at low prices. Hang in Hong Giang Commune complained that Chinese merchants refused to buy his litchis because they have enough already, while Vietnamese merchants only pay VND6,000 per kilo.

“Meanwhile, I could sell at VND12,000 per kilo yesterday. VND6,000 per kilo is too low, which is just enough to cover the expenses for picking up fruits,” he said.

Trying to find the outlets for litchis

Hoang Minh Phuong, a senior official of Luc Ngan district, said that Luc Ngan has a bountiful crop this year with the total output of 90,000 tonnes, or 50 percent higher than the previous year. In order to help farmers to consume litchis, the provincial authorities allow Chinese merchants to collect products right in the locality.

According to Phuong, about 30 Chinese merchants are collecting litchis in Luc Ngan.

The vehicles carrying litchis can get the priority in following customs procedures, while 20 vehicles can be cleared at the same time in the peak month.

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