Aus4EqualityGREAT storiesShooting Ahead with Bamboo

Shooting Ahead with Bamboo

This winter, we spoke with Ms Lo Thi Nguyen, Director of the Xuan Nha Clean Bamboo Shoot Cooperative in front of the newly constructed processing factory located at Tun Village, Xuan Nha Commune, Van Ho District, Son La Province. The 400m2 modern facility is equipped to process bamboo shoots to be exported to Taiwan.

Ms Lo Thi Nguyen with her clean bamboo shoots product.

“I was born in this village and I am 30 years old now. My dream has been to make a good income in my home village based on the natural resources around me. This came true when I had the chance to join the GREAT Program, implemented by CRED”, explained Ms Nguyen.

“You know, Xuan Nha Commune is surrounded by huge areas of bamboo, over 90% of the households in the communes earn their living from bamboo shoot collection. Over generations, we have sold the collected bamboo shoots to traders who then sell to wholesale markets in neighbouring provinces and other processing companies.

“As we previously sold the bamboo shoots as raw materials, the price and value was low and unstable. In the past, we sold bamboo shoots at VND 4,000 per kg. Today, the company has committed to buy the bamboo shoots from us at VND 5,000 to 5,500 per kg, depending on the quality.

“When CRED introduced the Bamboo Project in May 2019, we were very excited. We subsequently had the chance to meet with Yen Thanh Company and visit their bamboo shoot supply chain in Yen Bai and to discuss with them the possibility to replicate that model in our communes.

“Yen Thanh Company committed to buying all bamboo shoots from our farmers at a 20% higher price than the market. The company taught our farmers the technology to process the bamboo shoots to sell to them at a higher price.

“This beautiful processing factory here and the pilot cultivation of 100 hectares of Bat Do bamboo are the positive results of this collaboration with Yen Thanh Company”, concluded Ms Nguyen.

The processing factory of Xuan Nha Cooperative has the capacity to meet the supply from the planned 1,000 ha bamboo plantation. Yen Thanh Company signed an MOU with the Cooperative to purchase all the processed bamboo over the next 20 years. This purchasing agreement offers the young Cooperative the much-needed confidence to develop the business. As part of this agreement, Yen Thanh Company has committed to providing 70% of the seed money to purchase the raw materials and transfer the processing technology to the Cooperative.

Members of Xuan Nha Bamboo Shoots Cooperative.

For the 2020 crop, Yen Thanh will buy 30 tons of processed bamboo shoots to be exported to Taiwan with a value of up to VND 780 million. With the initial 13 household members, the Cooperative expects to expand to more households in the following years to respond to the demand of Yen Thanh Company for up to 20,000 tons per year.

Lo Thi Nguyen is one of 615 women in the three communes of Van Ho District who are participating in the project “Economic empowerment for ethnic minority women through developing a clean bamboo shoots value chain that began in May 2019.

Over the past year, the project has recorded the following tangible results:

  • 615 women and 697 men have joined nine bamboo collaborative groups and two cooperatives. Seven of these collaborative groups and two cooperatives are led by women.
  • Two purchasing contracts have been signed with large processing companies, Kim Boi and Yen Thanh which ensures a 20% increase above standard prices.
  • The three processing facilities owned by two cooperatives and one collaborative group has introduced new technologies such as energy-saving drying machines and solar drying houses. This is creating valued added fresh and dried products for export and local retailers such as Big C, Vin Mart and Coop Mart.
  • USDA organic certification of 300 hectares of production forest is opening up new markets and helping build a strong brand for Van Ho Bamboo.
  • Local authorities from the Forest Protections and People Committees of the three communes as well as Van Ho District have introduced policies that have clarified the location of productive forests and areas for processing facilities which support environmental sustainability and are supporting investment in the sector both from private companies and local households.