Organic tea growers, Thai Nguyen

Today we drove out to Tan Cuong Commune, one of the main green tea growing areas of Thai Nguyen Province. We went to meet with Mr Kim, leader of a group of 19 organic growers. These growers have moved to organic production because of health and environmental concerns from heavy use of pesticides in the area. The majority of the growers in this group are presently struggling with both lower yields and lower prices for their product, but are committed to staying organic because of their concerns. Mr Kim is setting an example by now achieving comparable yields to other tea growers and is working to resolve the marketing problems. He is aware that temperatures have been getting warmer, both locally and globally, and that weather patterns are becoming more erratic. However, these don’t seem to be major issues at present. Water is not a concern for them with many ponds in the area. These are fed from nearby Coc Lake, as part of an irrigation scheme. His focus is to build up the soil on his farm. He and others have already noted that the soil has considerably softened in the time that they have been in organic production. More immediate concerns of this group of growers are problems with an insect pest and marketing of their product. They are calling for support to assist them further in their efforts to both improve their local environment and make a reasonable living.

A typical tea farming scene in Thai Nguyen Province
A typical tea farming scene in Thai Nguyen Province

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