The Forest and Farm Facility program in Yen Bai province: Strengthening business capacity and market access in collective groups and cooperatives
Yen Bai has identified cinnamon as one of the 10 typical agricultural and forestry products of the province, since then, the Provincial Farmers' Union has coordinated with the FFF II Program to build an organic cinnamon value chain. Through the FFF Program, local farmers established Vietnam organic cinnamon and star anise cooperative in Dao Thinh commune, Tran Yen district with 22 cooperative members and cooperates with Vietnam Cinnamon Company, with the total cinnamon cultivation area of more than 1,000 hectares.
Since its establishment, the Board of Directors of the cooperative has determined that modern production is an indispensable condition for creating sustainable values. Therefore, from the support resources, the cooperative has linked with businesses to promote investment in facilities, machinery, scientific and technical application in order to reduce the rate of raw export and promote processing. Thanks to the application of technology in processing, 12 types of high-quality cinnamon products have now been created with key items such as: cigarette cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon powder, cinnamon essential oil, etc. which strong competition and stable selling price. To meet the needs of production and processing, the cooperative has built an organic cinnamon product processing factory with a total area of over 14,000 m2, a processing capacity of 80-100 tons of fresh cinnamon/month, with an investment of 80 billion VND with modern machinery lines to perform processing stages (cutting, slicing, essential oil refining tower, etc.).
In order to have a value chain production model, the cooperative has cooperated with company and provincial departments to organize technical trainings for farmers to produce cinnamon according to organic standards. The products of the cooperative members are sold to the cooperative at a price higher than the market. Previously, fresh cinnamon only sold for 15,000 VND/kg, now the average price of cinnamon has increased to 25,000 VND/kg. The cooperative also commits to purchasing products that are 10-15% higher than the market price, contributing to increasing farmers' income from 4.5 to 7 million VND/laborer/month.
Thanks to value chain production, compliance with techniques and standards, more than 1,000 hectares of cinnamon in Dao Thinh commune, Tran Yen district have been certified organic; are exported to EU market and countries including: USA, Canada, Korea, Japan, India, Middle East countries.
When joining the cooperative, the members are guided by the cooperative staff to grow cinnamon and star anise according to organic methods. The care process does not spray pesticides, when weeding, the growers not burn weeds but cultivate under the roots to make organic fertilizers... so the products are safe and the producers are also guaranteed health.
Currently, cooperative members have used digital technology to record production diary. For cooperatives, participation in virtual fairs, domestic and international trade promotion is also being promoted. As a result, the cooperative always maintains a stable product quality, output and market; The average purchasing volume from members is 70-100 tons of cinnamon/month.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen - Director of the company which associates with the cooperative said: After more than 3 years of operation, up to now, the cooperative has attracted nearly 300 stable and seasonal workers. During its operation, the cooperative is always facilitated by local authorities for production and business; lease 16,000 m2 of land to build an organic cinnamon processing factory with a capacity of 40,000 liters of cinnamon essential oil/year and 2,000 tons of dried cinnamon products/year.
At present, the organic cinnamon processing plant project has completed the first phase of construction with a capacity of 2,000 tons of dried cinnamon products per year and has been in operation since 2019. The cooperative has succeeded in producing cinnamon in a value chain and certified Organic by European Control Union according to European and Japanese standards for more than 1,000 hectares of cinnamon in Dao Thinh commune and neighboring communes.
In the process of production and business, the cooperative's staff and members both learn and enrich experience, improve the professional management system, offer innovative solutions to technology, apply modern machinery and equipment to improve the quality of production and business.
Specifically: Improving the drying, washing, crushing, cutting system. The application of machinery and technological equipment contributes to reducing labor costs. As a result, the output of preliminary processing and processing of cinnamon and anise products is about 2,000 tons annually, revenue in 2019 is VND 200 billion; by 2020 to reach 300 billion dong, creating more jobs for 300 workers with an average income of 7 million dong/person/month; bring stable income for 22 members. On December 31, 2019, the People's Committee of Yen Bai province granted the OCOP Certificate (Program "One Commune One Product") for cinnamon products from Vietnam cinnamon and star anise cooperative with 4 stars.
At the same time, VNFU at all levels connected with Hoa Phat company to link 31 farmer groups with 494 farmer households in 5 communes: Phu Thinh, Thinh Hung, Dai Dong, Tan Huong and Yen Binh town to build sustainable timber production areas and facilitate assessment and certification of FSC-CoC (Forest Stewardship Council - Chain of Custody Certificate) for over 1,737 ha (in 2018). Currently, Hoa Phat company has built a value chain, expanded the production area of FSC forest to 6,000 hectares in 2 districts of Yen Binh and Luc Yen.
Through the FFF Program, the Binh Minh Agro-Forestry Service Cooperative was established in Phu Thinh commune, Yen Binh district (in collaboration with 31 groups of afforestation households in the district to build a CoC sawmill to consume the planted forest products that have been granted FSC certificate). The cooperative currently has 60 hectares of acacia forest. After its establishment, the cooperative cooperated with Hoa Phat company to build a FSC-CoC certified sawmill with a scale of over 4,000 m2.
Thanks to the FSC-CoC forest certificate, since July 2017, the cooperative has linked and consumed timber for 31 groups of afforestation households with about 2,500 - 3,000 tons of sawn timber; 900 - 1,000 tons of wood chips (about 15 - 20 hectares). Timber products of the cooperative branded FSC-CoC have been distributed and sold in many stores, supermarkets, and trade centers with big names such as: Vietnam Forest Company (NAFOCO), IKEA...
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Director of Binh Minh Agricultural and Forestry Cooperative, Mr. Phung Binh Minh said: When participating in the FSC-COC certified forest program, the selling price of timber is usually 15-20% higher than the market price. The brand name of forest products is raised and timber products can enter the fastidious markets of Europe and America. Thanks to good protection and care, the cooperative's forest reserve is also high, averaging over 150 tons/ha. Especially, when participating in the FSC-CoC certification, people have access to new technical support, so old habits are changed, labor productivity, income is getting higher and higher, people's lives are increasingly stable.
From the initial results, the cooperative members are assured of afforestation, especially strictly following the 10 principles and 56 criteria of FSC afforestation, so the wood products are good quality, stable prices, and the cooperative's revenue reaches 200 million VND/month. Accordingly, the cooperative not only helps its members develop sustainable economy from the forest but also creates jobs for 10-20 local workers with a salary of 7-8 million VND/person/month.
The households participating in FSC afforestation said that the economic value from FSC afforestation is 2 - 2.5 times higher than small timber afforestation. Not only making an economic difference, but in FSC forests there is no waste, pesticide packaging, the awareness of forest growers in environmental protection is raised; the burning of vegetation before planting also decreased.
With the consensus of the members and the results achieved, in 2 years 2018 and 2019 the cooperative was rewarded by the Yen Bai provincial Union of Cooperatives, the People's Committee of Yen Binh district, the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance.
The FFF II program also supported the establishment of Develope Medicinal Plants collective group in Dao Thinh commune, Tran Yen district in March 2019 led by Mr. Pham Van Tien, the Dao Thinh commune FU chairman. Recently, the demand for Khoi Nhung leaves is very large because this is a kind of medicine used to make medicine to treat stomach. Mr. Tien has directly guided members of the collective group on cultivation and purchasing at market prices.
At present, there have been 4 more litters of Khoi Nhung leaves of the members for harvesting, with an average of more than 20 kg of dry leaves per litter. Wherever harvesting, Mr. Tien bought them all and sold them to Viet Phap Company Limited in Nam Dinh. The total revenue from collective group members' reaches 20 million VND/year.
Typically, Mr. Nguyen Tri Tue's household in hamlet 5, Khe Sau planted 600 Khoi Nhung trees by cuttings (equivalent to 1 sao) and harvested 6 litters, 10 kg of fresh leaves each, and sold for 30,000 VND/kg. Currently, he has planted 300 more trees and has just completed the acceptance test of 7,000 m2 of registered land for planting Khoi nhung trees, supported by the district. According to Mr. Tue, the Khoi Nhung tree can grow 3 crops a year, with simple care and leisure, all of them use chicken manure composted with rice husks and microbial products, without the use of fertilizers and chemical pesticides. If well cared for, the Khoi Nhung tree is of great value.
In 2020, collective group members have registered to plant 3 more hectares of Khoi Nhung tree with the district's support on seedlings at the rate of 50 - 50 and are in the process of conducting land acceptance testing. Currently, the price of a tree about 8,000 VND is quite high and must be purchased in Phu Tho, so it partly limits the expansion of the area. Collective plans to develop the areas to 20 hectares in the immediate future to ensure supply output to avoid dependence on a single market.
In the coming time, the Provincial FU will continue to play a good role as a bridge connecting sectors, local organizations and farmers to successfully complete the FFF II Program to connect with large enterprises and establish more collective groups, cooperatives to build forest and farm value chains in the direction of sustainable linkages to help farmers, especially women, youth and ethnic minority households develop sustainable forest and farm, poverty reduction and climate change