Nguyen Ngoc Hong, from the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang, says she hunts for apple snails in nearby paddy fields and canals whenever she has the time.
Local traders are willing to pay VND14,000 for a kilogram of snails with the shell removed, Hong says.
Elsewhere in Bac Lieu, the pests have also become sought-after as traders even pay higher: VND19,000 per kilogram.
After sourcing a huge amount of the snails, traders will sell them to facilities in Long My District.
The apple snail, or golden snail, a serious threat to rice production and the native ecosystem, has suddenly become sought-after in the Mekong Delta, with traders offering high payments to stockpile large amounts of the pests from local farmers.
Vo Nhu Y, deputy chairman of the local government of Ninh Quoi A, said it has been reported that the snails will be sold to China.
“But the speculation remains unverified,” he added.
Y said people in his commune have collected as many as 1 ton of snails to sell to traders every day.
Meanwhile, Le Hong Viet, deputy chief of the economic bureau of Long My District, said traders ship the products to facilities in Ho Chi Minh City instead of China.
It is a common trick of foreign traders, especially Chinese, to create false demand for agricultural products by offering high buying prices and then to abruptly stop buying the product.