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VN bicycle vendors peddle door to door

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This combination photograph shows vendors carrying various fruits for sale on their bicycles in Hanoi on March 18. AFP

VN bicycle vendors peddle door to door

From juicy mangoes and fresh lemons to tropical guava and plums: Hanoi’s fruit comes piled high on the back of bicycles, peddled by street vendors who roam every nook and cranny of the Vietnamese capital.

The fruit sellers, who are mostly women, start their day at 3am and cycle up to 15 kilometres into the city from the countryside to drop off fruit, vegetables and flowers at their customers’ doors.

Donning conical hats known as “Non La” to shield from the sun, the women can earn up to $8 a day as they weave through Hanoi’s alleys until late afternoon.

The exhausting work is worth it for many, with wages in Vietnam’s cities at least double those of the countryside in a nation where the World Bank says the average annual income is around $2,600.

But fruit vendors have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, despite Vietnam’s low case numbers.

It has recorded just over 2,500 cases and only 35 deaths.

There have been fewer people on the streets and vendors were not allowed to peddle their wares for a short period after the virus first hit.

Last April, the government announced a $2.6 billion support package to help around 20 million poor people and small businesses affected by the pandemic.

But many found themselves unable to access the funds.

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