Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick visitied GREAT partners in Lao Cai
Posted on 07/06/2019
May 30-31, 2019. Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, and colleagues from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam visited partners of the Aus4Quality|GREAT Program in Van Ban, Bac Ha and Sa Pa districts in Lao Cai.
The visit to Lao Cai was an opportunity for the Australian Ambassador to see first-hand how GREAT is creating economic opportunities for ethnic minority women living in the mountainous north west of the Country. This included meeting women entrepreneurs and partner companies Son Ha Spice and Flavourings – the largest cinnamon and star anise exporter in Vietnam and Duc Phu Agriculture Forestry – a pioneer in exporting benzoin which is an ingredient in perfumes to the European market. The Ambassador also visited Ha Tea Company- a local manufacturer and exporter of shan tea, one of the most exotic tea varieties in Vietnam. With the support of GREAT and by partnering with non-government organisations and local government agencies, these companies are investing to engage and train local women in their agricultural supply chains.
The mission also included an inspection of a ramie nursey and plantation, one of the world’s strongest natural fibres that is used by the textile and garment industry. Supported by the GREAT Program, the Van Ban District Women’s Union is partnering with An Phuc Company, the local government and a bank to encourage farmers to grow this fast growing crop. The project is expected to provide increased income for over 700 local ethnic minority women.
In Sapa District, the Ambassador met with Red Dao Community Cooperative – a tourism service provider and herbal product producer led by ethnic minority women as well as other GREAT Program partners including Mai Anh Agricultural Cooperative, Trails of Mountain Travel, Sapanapro and Lan Rung Company.
Mr. Chittick had the opportunity to hold discussions with Mr. Dang Xuan Phong – Chairman of Lao Cai Provincial People’s Committee and Provincial Department heads. Discussions focussed on Australia-Lao Cai engagement and the potential to further engage women in the agricultural and tourism sectors in the Province. There was also recognition of the innovative approach of the GREAT Program which includes the participation of the private sector, government and local communities which is already delivering some significant and meaningful results even at an early stage.