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Chinese orange sold under disguise in Vietnam

Mobile stalls selling “sweet and original Vietnamese oranges,” according to their banners, have emerged in streets across Hanoi over the last week, but the fruits are in fact originated from China.

The oranges, sometimes introduced by sellers as produce of the northern Ha Giang Province, are available at the cheap price of VND10,000 a kg, or sometimes even half of that amount, targeting students and low-income earners. (VND20,800 = US$1)

But the fruits do not come from Ha Giang, nor any other localities of Vietnam, but its neighboring country, China.

Some 20 trucks, each carrying six tons of oranges from China, arrive at the wholesale market of Long Bien at 3am on a daily basis, waiting for local traders to unload the fruit.

By 7am, dozens of tons of oranges, owned by a man named Trung, whose company is based in Lao Cai Province, have been distributed.

The fruits are classified into types from one to three, with the top class sold to fruit and grocery stores at VND8,000 a kg, which will then resell them to consumers at up to VND25,000 a kg.

The second and third types, valued at VND5,000 and VND4,000 a kg respectively, will be distributed to street vendors, who resell at a VND8,000 – 10,000 a kg rate.

Most consumers of the disguised Chinese oranges say they are attracted by the low prices.

“I know they are Chinese oranges, but my income only permits me to buy this type of fruit,” says Nguyen Van Tinh, a 58-year-old motorbike taxi driver.

Tran Quynh Trang, a student of the Hanoi University of Transport, also buys the fruit because “they are cheap, seedless, and produce a lot of juice,” she says.

“The sellers say they are Ha Giang orange,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Duc Vinh, director of Ha Giang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, asserted with Tuoi Tre that the oranges in question in Hanoi are not the produce of his province.

“It’s not the harvest time of Ha Giang oranges now,” he said, adding that this time usually falls in early December.

This is not the first time Chinese fruit have been sold under disguise in Vietnam.

In mid-August, a number of street stands in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang sold “US grapes” at dirt cheap prices, while the fruit was actually from China.

Chinese potatoes, pomegranates, and plums are also rampantly sold in local markets, while their quality remains dubious, forcing Vietnamese authorities to place them under strict scrutiny.


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