Problems with toxic chemicals in Chinese produce have caused a dramatic drop in orange prices in Vietnam after a rumor that their local oranges were actually from China.
There is an old Chinese proverb about rumors that says “What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away” and that appears to be exactly the case in Vietnam when it comes to some recent and unfounded rumors concerning the state of imported oranges in that nation today. Small produce traders selling native Vietnamese oranges in the city of Da Nang that were grown in the nearby Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long are suffering from a drastic drop in sales as their oranges have been boycotted due to rumors circulating among the public claiming their oranges are not local, but sourced from China instead.
A variety of different fruits from China have been getting an increasingly bad reputation in Vietnam due to multiple incidents when fruits containing traces of toxic chemicals from China have been arriving at markets in Vietnam and sold at discounted prices under the guise of being grown locally. The lack of orange sales due to the rumor are having the biggest negative impact on the produce sellers at the Da Nang Hoa Cuong wholesale market that usually moves about 100 tons of fruit every day. Almost overnight, the shipments of fresh fruit coming from the Mekong Delta growing region have fallen by nearly 30 percent. The produce sellers have protested that although the oranges they are selling actually come from Vinh Long’s Tam Binh district in the Mekong, the local consumers have been turning up their noses at the fruit supplies ever since the rumor that they are actually Chinese oranges began circulating. Some traders say the unfounded rumor has also caused the orange prices to drop a full 20 percent.
Like a two-edged blade, reducing the price of oranges has been the only way many produce traders can sell any oranges at all, but the price drop has also had the effect of causing the customers to wonder why the prices are so low all of a sudden. The real reason is fairly transparent, as it is not uncommon for fruits and other agricultural products in Vietnam to suffer from low product prices whenever there has been an exceptionally good harvest season, as the supplies will usually exceed the demand in those conditions. However, after the rumors, many traders have resorted to presenting their wholesale purchase receipts in order to prove to their customers that the fruits are actually sourced from the Vinh Long growing region. Even reassurance from the deputy head of the market’s management board saying that Chinese fruits only account for 5 percent of the total amount transported to the Hoa Cuong market have not seemed to quell the persistent rumor. If the public cannot be successfully educated about the false rumors and orange prices keep dropping, it is not hard to imagine that the urban produce markets in Vietnam will resort to a total ban on the sales of all Chinese fruits in the future.
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