Thousands of trucks are still heading for the Vietnam-China border gates, though the exports are getting stuck because of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Vietnam’s farm produce remains unsold because of the closure of border gates.
Retailers have decided to collect watermelons and dragon fruit in large quantities for distribution in response to the call to rescue Vietnam’s farm produce.
Nguyen Thi Phuong, deputy general director of Central Retail, which runs Big C and GO! supermarket chains, said the company is collecting unsold farm produce in Binh Thuan, Gia Lai, Khanh Hoa, Long An and Tien Giang.
At Big C and GO! in the north, watermelon is sold at VND6,200 per kilogram, while red- and white-flesh dragon fruit at VND15,500 per kilogram. In the south, red-flesh dragon fruit is sold at VND10,900 per kilogram and watermelon VND4,900.
After one week of selling the ‘rescued farm produce’, Big C and GO! said the two chains sold 100 tons of watermelon and 70 tons of dragon fruit each day.
Meanwhile, Kim Dung, director of Sai Gon Co-op in Hanoi, said the retailer is selling rescued farm produce, but the sale may be interrupted at any time.
She went on to say that the rescue campaign shows the great potential of the domestic market, calling on management agencies, local authorities and farmers to increase domestic sales.
According to Nguyen Thanh Thuy, deputy general director of Vincommerce, which owns Vinmart, said the retail chain can consume hundreds of tons of water melon. However, when she contacted farmers to discuss the collection of watermelon in the rescue campaign, she was told that farmers did not have products to sell.
“Vinmart wants to collect 60 tons of water melon a week in Gia Lai, but the delivery is in dribs and drabs,” she said.
Thuy complained that when the retailer contacted the locality, the two sides agreed on one price level, but when the retailer sent staff to collect products, farmers set another price level.
Ngo Tri Long, a respected economist, commented that farmers don’t want to sell products domestically because the prices are lower than export prices. Farm produce cannot be exported, but farmers still want to sell products at high prices in the domestic market.
Representatives of supermarkets, local authorities and farmers expressed disagreement at the meeting organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Supermarkets said they cannot collect enough products for retailing. Local authorities said the inventory level is high but they don’t want to sell domestically, and want to export at high prices.