Vietnamese turn their backs to Chinese farm produce

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese housewives have become highly vigilant over the glossy fruits and farm produce. They would refuse to buy the products if the sellers say the products are from China.

The smart consumers

Nguyen Thanh Ha, Deputy Director of the Thu Duc Market Development Company, said the amount of Chinese farm produce traded at the market has dropped by 50 percent over the last month. Only 7-8 kiosks in the market now still sell Chinese products, while there were 20 in the past.

A small merchant at Nguyen Van Troi retail market in district 3 of HCM City said consumers nowadays refuse Chinese farm produce, while sellers must declare the origin of the products.

“Vietnamese have shifted to buy domestic farm produce, even though the products are a bit more expensive,” she said.

“They always ask about the origin of products. I cannot tell lie, because I will lose loyal customers. And if I say these are Chinese products, customers would refuse,” she added.

Chinese vegetables still have been selling at some big retail markets in HCM City including Tan Dinh in district 1, Nguyen Van Troi in district 3, Ba Chieu in Binh Thanh district. However, these are believed to be the inventories, while merchants now dare not sell to buy Chinese products wholesale for retailing at the markets any more.

Since the sales of Chinese farm produce have been going very slowly, merchants have shifted to trade domestic products, though they fear that the business would not go smoothly due to the higher prices of domestic products.

Bui Thuy Nga, a housewife in Go Vap district, said that previously, she tried to choose the products which looked fresh and glossy, but she has changed her mind. The repeated warnings given by state management agencies about the safety of imports have forced her to refuse Chinese products.

It’s time for domestic producers

Duong Thi Quynh Trang, Public Relation Director of Big C Supermarket chain, said 95 percent of the fruits and vegetables available at the supermarket are made in Vietnam. Only five percent are the imports, kiwi, grapes, apples --the products rarely grown in Vietnam, mostly from the US, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Trang said that Chinese imports just account for a very small percentage in the total products available at the supermarket. Big C only imports products from prestigious suppliers, while keeping strict control over the quality of products.

Trang also said that since very few Chinese products have been distributed by the supermarket chain, the retailer has not found any big changes in the farm produce sales recently.

A senior executive of Co-op Mart has frankly said that the supermarket chain does not distribute Chinese fruits. About 90 percent of the fruits available there are Vietnamese, while the other 10 percent are the imports from the US, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand.

At Lotte Mart, the Chinese farm produce suspected of having high pesticide concentrations have been removed from the shelves.

Analysts have noted that the changes in customers’ consumption habit have given golden opportunities to domestic producers. Vietnamese farm produce have been dominating the shelves at supermarkets and traditional markets.

However, they have warned that Chinese products still keep penetrating into Vietnam, while it is very difficult to keep strict control over all the imports across the border.

Compiled by Thu Uyen