In these days, residents in many communes in the central highlands province of Kon Tum’s Kon Plong District have rushed to pick a kind of poisonous fungus, forest products and allegedly sell them to traders from ten thousands Vietnamese dong to some million dong.
Though residents don’t know the use of these forest products and have not ever eaten yet, they still rush to jungle to seek the products to sell as traders pay high prices.
At the T-intersection Mang Canh in Kon Plong District, a group of three people with rice, drinking water were going to jungle for picking up leaves of kim cuong tree, Ms. Y Krua, 19, said that traders agree to pay as much as VND1 million (US$45.8) for a kilogram of kim cuong leaves. She added that it is early rainy season, kim cuong tree’s leaves are small so it is difficult to find out. 2 or 3 months later, it will be easier when the buds on the trees will start to open out.
Many traders sit at the edge of the forest to wait for seekers to directly purchase. Some residents become middle buyers to earn profits. Mrs. Hoa’s relatives including her husband, children and brothers, sisters go to villages in communes Dak Tang, Mang But, Mang Canh to collect the leaves.
Mrs. Hoa said that after collecting enough leaves as per traders’ need, she would call traders who will sell the leaves to China. Traders buy as much as she has even they struggle over each other to buy the leaves.
Mrs. Hoa also collected Co Co mushroom which traders proposed to buy at VND1.7 million (US$78), adding that Co Co mushroom and kim cuong leaves can be eaten.
In addition the two above-mentioned products, traders also buy other trees which the inhabitants have never used. Mrs. Hoa said a wild fruit fetches VND300,000 (US$13.7) per kilogram.
Mr. Tu in Kon Nang village in Mang Canh Commune was busy at putting bags of Tai Khi mushroom on the yard in the sun saying that a few months ago, a stranger came to his house with a sample of the mushroom asking to buy it at VND30,000 per kilogram.
Phan Dinh Hai from the People’s Committee in Kon Plong District asserted that traders are purchasing these forest products. He said the forefather cooked kim cuong leaves as a soup to have good sleep. In reality, there has been no researches of the use of the trees. People rush to the forest to collect the products due to traders pay a high price.
Hai warned sales agents to be careful as there has been many cases that traders asked to collect an forest products and then they disappeared without trace.