The managing board of the Hoc Mon wholesale market said that around 110 to 150 tons of fruits and vegetables are imported on a daily basis, with Chinese products accounting for as much as 70 percent of the total.
“Since products shipped from the north fail to meet demand, I have to import more from China,” said Thanh, a wholesaler at the market.
Some 500 – 700 kilograms of garlic are distributed daily from his store to citywide markets and neighboring provinces, he said.
At the Tam Binh wholesale market in Thu Duc District, fruits imported from China, Thailand, Australia, and the US also dominate.
The most-consumed products are Chinese oranges, apples, pears, and pomegranates, traders said.
“Import prices have dropped 10 – 15 percent, so many wholesalers have increased their fruit stocks to welcome the coming holidays,” said a trader.
“My sales rose 25 percent compared to the same period last year,” said Cuong, a trader who sells fruits bought from Tam Binh market.
Fruit and vegetable import turnover saw a drastic year-on-year rise, the General Department of Statistics reported.
Import turnover was worth US$56.09 million in the first quarter of 2011, and the figure rose by 26.6 percent to $71 million in the first three months of this year, the department said.
Chinese fruits imported to Vietnam have also been on the rise, it said, with Chinese products accounting for 53.5 percent of the total imported fruits and vegetables in the Jan – Feb period.
US-imported fruits take second place, with its products on shelves in most of the supermarkets and convenient stores around the city.
“Chinese agricultural products have totally dominated the low-cost segment,” many traders said.
Despite the high transporting cost since the products have to be transported from the northern border gates to HCMC, their prices, both wholesale and retail, are still lower than the Vietnamese counterparts.
Prices for garlic, carrots, or ginger are only two third of domestic prices, traders said.
Moreover, Chinese products also penetrate deeply into the local market, with traders willing to distribute the fruits directly to customers.
“With orders of more than 5kg, we will deliver the products right to your home, with prices unchanged from those sold at the market,” said Truong Thao, who sells Chinese fruit in HCMC.
“Consumption is stable,” she added.