The links that bind us: connecting bamboo producers, processors and exporters in North-West Vietnam.
Posted on 21/07/2021
The lives of ethnic minorities in communes in Van Ho District in Vietnam’s Son La Province have changed for the better as a result of a project delivered through the Australian Government-funded Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Project in partnership with the Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED).
The project is focused on the economic empowerment of ethnic women through the development and strengthening of a clean bamboo shoot value chain, which will link farmers to businesses and beyond.
Mrs. Lo Thi Nguyen is the Director of Xuan Nha Bamboo Shoot Cooperative in Tun Village, Xuan Nha Commune, Van Ho District and manages a processing factory that processes locally produced bamboo for export to Taiwan.
Xuan Nha Commune has a large area of forest where bamboo shoots grow. The area has been known for its bamboo shoots for some time, and households have long sold bamboo shoots, albeit on a small scale, to traders from other provinces. These traders would then sell the shoots to processing companies. Just over 94 per cent of households earn an income from collecting bamboo, but the price of bamboo shoots was often unstable, and the income generated was not high.
GREAT and CRED facilitated a connection between Xuan Nha Bamboo Shoot Cooperative and Yen Thanh Company in Yen Bai Province, with positive outcomes.
“In October 2019, CRED connected us with Yen Thanh Company in Yen Bai Province. We joined a study tour to the Company to listen to workers of Hong Ca Cooperative (Tran Yen district) talk about the suitability of the Bat Do bamboo shoot variety to processing,” said Mrs Nguyen.
The Yen Thanh Bamboo Shoot Company processes Bat Do bamboo shoots and then exports bamboo products to Taiwan and Japan. The company’s demand for bamboo shoots is more than 20,000 tonnes per year.
In July 2020, the Yen Thanh Bamboo Shoot Company signed a 20-year business cooperation contract with Xuan Nha Bamboo Shoot Cooperative. The company committed to investing 70 percent of the capital needed to buy raw materials and transferred the technology for processing pickle bamboo shoots to the Xuan Nha Bamboo Shoot Cooperative. From the 2020 bamboo shoot crop, Xuan Nha Cooperative exported seven tonnes of pickled bamboo shoots and earned a profit of VND 35 million.
“Although I am very young at 30 years old, my aspiration to make a living right on the land where I live has now become true as a result of this project,” Mrs Nguyen said.
During the spring of 2020, CRED supported 209 households to grow Bat Do bamboo on 100 hectares of land that was not fertile enough for rice and maize crops. This land will also be used to propagate seedlings for future crops so that a sustainable supply can be assured for the Yen Thanh Company. It takes three years before the bamboo shoots can be harvested, but the signs are promising for improved households income as a result of growing the Bat Do bamboo variety due to the export demand and the work undertaken through this partnership to strengthen the value chain and support services.