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Traders mysteriously buy cashew leaves, and burn them

Traders mysteriously buy cashew leaves, and burn them

Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 11:57 GMT+7

The traders who have recently bought dry cashew leaves en mass from local residents in the southern province of Binh Phuoc have hurriedly set the leaves on fire after being contacted by authorities.With the traders buying the dry leaves for dubious reasons, police in Thong Nhat Commune of Bu Dang District have worked with them to clarify the real reason behind their purchase. But the traders only provided vague explanations, and disappeared a day after the meeting with police. On the evening of December 10, the traders gathered all of the dry cashew leaves they have bought to an abandoned field and set fire on them, then fled out of the locality, Thong Nhat police said. Thi Ai, a local resident, said she had sold the leaves to the mysterious traders at VND700 (US$0.03) a kilogram. “I asked them what they bought the leaves for, but they refused to answer,” she said. Dry cashew leaves have also become sought-after in Dong Nai province, but neither the sellers nor the authorities know why the traders hunted for the leaves. But the traders have stopped buying over the last ten days, according to some locals who were hired by the traders to collect the leaves. H, one such collector in Dinh Quan District, said she no longer affords to buy from farmers due to lack of money. As assigned by the traders, H has bought tons of leaves and is now turning them into fertilizer to sell to the traders. “But whether the traders will return to get the fertilizer and pay me money remains to be seen,” she admitted. Local authorities confirmed that all of the cashew leaves collecting facilities have ceased operation over the last few days. The local collectors have yet to resell any of the leaves to the traders, said Tran Nam Bien, deputy chairman of the district’s People’s Committee. “We have no idea about who the traders are, and when they will come back to buy the leaves,” he added.Security threats Pham Minh Dao, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said he has asked relevant authorities and police to look into the case. Dao said the authorities should remain wary of the issue. “Locals may cut down the cashew trees to get the leaves, dry them and sell them for money, which will in fact destroy the local cashew production,” he said. Tran Van Loc, deputy director of the Binh Phuoc Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said he is concerned that the dry cashew leaf buying will result in local security threats. “People with no cashew plantations may steal leaves from others to sell to traders as it is now very easy to earn money from the leaves,” he said.

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