In the districts of Dak To and Ngoc Hoi of Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands, locals pick the herbs in the forest to sell to Chinese businessmen, who have returned after a long absence.
The area in Dien Binh commune of Dak To district which was an airport in the past now is a place for petty merchants to gather cu ly which they collect from local people. Ten workers were seen classifying cu ly, cutting it into small pieces and drying it under the sun before Chinese businessmen came and took it away.
|People in border areas are rushing to the forest to uproot cu ly plant to sell to Chinese businesses at high priced, raising concerns about the destruction of precious medicinal herbs in Vietnam.|
Giap Van Thi, a petty merchant, said he collects cu ly at VND2,000 per kilo. After cutting cu li and drying it, he can sell for VND10,000 per kilo.
“I have collected 60 tons of cu ly so far, both dried and fresh,” he said.
Thi said the cu ly price this year is higher than in previous years. This encourages people to go to the forest to pick the plants, though they know exploitation of the plant is prohibited.
“The supply is low. People have to exploit cu ly surreptitiously. Sometimes they have to go far to the areas bordering Laos and Cambodia to look for cu ly,” he said.
“Sometimes I have to wait 10-15 days to collect a certain consignment of cu li to deliver to businessmen,” he said. “After drying cu li, is will be carried to the north.”
A Dieu, a young man in Ngoc Hoi district said that he has no land to do field work and , tries to make money by picking cu li in the forest.
However, he complained that there are not many plants now.
“I can find 100 kilos of fresh cu ly a day. Each kilo can be sold for VND2,000,” he said, adding that the money is enough to cover basic daily needs.
Nguyen Gia Minh Hai from the Ngoc Hoi district’s Forest Ranger Unit confirmed that locals now rush to pick cu ly plants, raising concern about the extirpation of the precious medicinal herbs. A meeting has been held among leaders of the unit and communal authorities to discuss solutions to the problem.