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As vegetables pile up, Hanoi shoppers pay at will

As vegetables pile up, Hanoi shoppers pay at will

Tuesday, March 02, 2021, 20:27 GMT+7
As vegetables pile up, Hanoi shoppers pay at will
Packs of tomatoes are loaded to be consumed in central Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

The drizzle in late February could not stop farmers of Dong Cao Village in Hanoi’s outlying district of Me Linh from pushing themselves to the fields to harvest vegetables.

The more packs of tomatoes and lettuces are delivered, the bigger hope they see to get a break-even point.

Dozens of beds of sugar beets were left unharvested while mustard greens were severely destroyed by pests.

Tomatoes, easier to be consumed, were loaded into big bags, pilling up at a front yard of Dong Cao Village Cooperative while waiting to be shipped to the city center.

Fresh produce is loaded to trucks for delivery to central Hanoi. Video: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

“Before Tet [Vietnamese Lunar New Year], I earned VND5-6 million [US$216-260] for every 24 square meters of sugar beets. Now, no one wants to buy them," said Thuan, a farmer in Dong Cao Village.

“Each crop of sugar beets takes 60 days.

"As it passed day 90, we can do nothing but throw them away.”

A farmer gathers sugar beets to destroy as they are too old to be sold. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

A farmer gathers sugar beets to destroy as they are too old to be sold. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Song, another farmer, said the cooperative helped to connect them with traders.

“A truck loads some six tonnes of veggies to sell in cities,” he added.

A local landfill is covered up with thrown-away sugar beets. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

A local landfill is covered up with thrown-away sugar beets. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Customers, however, can pay at their will, VND5,000, VND10,000 or VND20,000 ($0.22, $0.43 or $0.87), simply to help cover transportation fees.

“Some of them take a couple of bags for VND50,000 [$2.17]. Tomato price now stops at VND1,500 per kilogram [0.65 cents], but there is hardly anyone bothering to trade it,” said Thuan.

Dam Van Dua, director of the cooperative, said local agricultural products need help to access other markets.

There are 100 tonnes of tomatoes and 200 tonnes of sugar beets waiting to be consumed.

Dua said the cooperative was working to connect farmers with traders and food distributing companies.

At present, some of these products have been delivered to Hanoi’s biggest wholesale markets of Long Bien and Xanh.

“On February 27 solely, we sold 25 tonnes of sugar beets and tomatoes. We expect to bring the rest to the markets in the next few weeks,” he said.

To avoid the abundance that leads to devastating price drops, Dua said they would pay more attention to food processing and balance the allocation of seeds in the next crops.

Me Linh District’s authorities have requested the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade to introduce them to procurement agencies as well as setting up makeshift booths to help farmers sell vegetables.

Dong Cao Village has 140ha of vegetable farming with some 200 farmers and 400 frequent buyers.

However, under the impacts of COVID-19, traders from other provinces cannot enter the village, leading to slow consumption of agricultural products.

Bags of salad, up to 10kg each, are stocked before being shipped to wholesale markets. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Bags of vegetables, up to 10kg each, are stocked before being shipped to wholesale markets in Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Mustard greens are severely destroyed by pests. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Mustard greens are severely destroyed by pests in Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Trucks with banners saying “joining hands to help farmers sell vegetable amid the pandemic” run to and from the Dong Cao Village. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Trucks with banners saying “joining hands to help farmers sell vegetables amid the pandemic” run to and from Dong Cao Village in Me Linh District, Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Trucks with banners saying “joining hands to help farmers sell vegetable amid the pandemic” run to and from the Dong Cao Village. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Trucks with banners saying “joining hands to help farmers sell vegetables amid the pandemic” run to and from Dong Cao Village in Me Linh District, Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Bags of tomato are seen piled up in front of the Dong Cao Village’s cooperative. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Bags of tomatoes are seen piling up in front of Dong Cao Village’s cooperative in Me Linh District, Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

Tomato and sugar beets are ready to be delivered. Photo: Ha Quan/Tuoi Tre

Tomatoes and sugar beets are ready to be delivered to central Hanoi. Photo: Ha Quan / Tuoi Tre

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