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D1 Launches Facebook Page to Help Street Food Vendors Evicted From Sidewalks

In the midst of Saigon’s sidewalk-clearing campaign, officials in the downtown area are aiming to help street vendors through the power of Facebook.

According to VnExpress, District 1 authorities will officially launch a fan page on the social media site geared toward downtown street vendors. The page, titled Am Thuc Quan 1, will begin operating in April and advertise the products of those street vendors not selected for the trial run of District 1’s new street food zones, which will be located on Nguyen Van Chiem Street and in Bach Tung Diep Park.

In addition to promoting small street food businesses, local officials have also pledged to hold regular inspections and provide food safety training to local vendors.

“The effect of this model is that a woman who has been selling fried bananas in Cau Ong Lanh Ward for many years only has a few people come to the market to buy her food,” Lam Ngo Hoang Anh, director of the District 1 People’s Committee Office, told the news outlet in Vietnamese. “When she sells online, however, she can sell more because many people will know her product. She won’t have to go out on the street and encroach upon the sidewalk.”

As of Thursday this past week, however, a number of District 1 street food vendors were unaware of the Facebook page’s existence. Those who were informed of the plan were skeptical.

According to another VnExpress article, for instance, 75-year-old Pham Thi Mai worried that she could not make the jump to an e-commerce business. The chè vendor earns VND150,000 a day selling her product outside of Saigon Square and serves mostly business owners within the shopping complex. By moving elsewhere, Mai fears she will lose her clientele.

The same VnExpress article also notes that only 35 vendors out of the approximately 500 street-side businesses in District 1 were selected to participate in the trial run of downtown Saigon’s street food zones.

For the remaining vendors, local authorities have pledged to assist with advertising their businesses by way of social media, while helping other vendors to find alternative employment.

[Photo via Facebook page Am Thuc Quan 1]

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