Member: Nguyen Thi Huyen

Age: 55

Living: Ha Noi

Start-up story: Female farmer gets rich from growing safe vegetables

Being sharp in grasping market needs, making effective use of support resources, studying hard and applying scientific and technological advances to agricultural cultivation, Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen, Chairwoman of Board of Directors, cum Director of Ba Chu Cooperative (Van Noi Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi) has marked success with high quality vegetable products.

Ms. Huyen said, every day the cooperative provides about 20 tons with 50 kinds of vegetable products, to individual customers, supermarkets, clean agricultural stores, companies, collective kitchens.

Professionalize vegetable farming

Ms. Huyen recalled that vegetable farming in Van Noi has existed since the 1990s, but on a small scale and household production, it was still fragmented and there was still a situation where vegetable growers have not yet complied with the standards of guarantee safety. The demand for vegetables and fruits meeting quality and safety standards is becoming more and more necessary for consumers. After many years of growing safe vegetables on a small scale, she was determined to establish a cooperative with the greatest desire to change production and consumption behavior with right fertilizer and just enough medicine for plant protection and for safe consumption and health protection.

In the early days of establishment, the cooperative faced many difficulties in terms of facilities, promotion and product consumption. But the Board of Directors and members of the cooperative are always sharp in grasping market needs, as well as applying scientific and technical advances to farming. In 2019, Ba Chu Cooperative registered products to participate in the program “One commune, one product” (OCOP) of Hanoi city and has 3-star OCOP certified vegetable products. At the beginning of 2020, the co-operative’s mustard greens and cabbage products continued to be granted 3-star OCOP certification.
One of the plus points of Ba Chu Cooperative is that the associated households grow vegetables according to PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) standards and keep a diary in production. PGS is a system to ensure the participation of households, groups of households, and groups of households to cross-monitor internally according to the system. This system ensures authentication for producers based on the active participation of stakeholders, including consumers, distribution companies, government authorities and other interested parties.

Besides, with the production model according to organic standards, Ms. Huyen has researched and used reusable products such as vegetable peels and leaves after preliminary processing and incubated with soybean oil for 1 month for use as fertilizer. She also uses biological pesticides, using ginger, garlic, chili, and lemongrass to repel insects to ensure that the product is delivered to the market safely, without preservatives, but can be stored for 2 to 3 days.
Time from planting, caring to harvest is from 30 to 40 days. The cooperative’s vegetables are kept samples and committed to take full responsibility if food safety problems occur. The model of bio-organic vegetable production in the direction of high technology and the construction of a plastic dome house with an automatic irrigation system has been shared by Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen for other members of the cooperative to minimize the use of chemicals in production.

The cooperative also develops sales on a flexible, online platform that adapts to the needs of the market.

Accompanying women to start entrepreneurship

On the journey of starting a business, besides her own constant efforts, the director of Ba Chu Vegetable Cooperative said that she always receives the attention and support of local authorities and organizations. For her, the loan from TYM has been one of the meaningful supports during the past 6 years. From the initial loan of VND 20 million dong, she asked TYM to consider increasing the loan to VND 50 million dong.
“Although this is not a large loan, with the characteristics of vegetable production for a regular daily income, the weekly interest payment is very suitable. With this loan, I have more capital to turn around effectively, which helps a lot for production and thereby developing the family economy. Besides being supported with capital, becoming a member of TYM, me and the sisters in the cooperative also received other support and care such as: sharing information and experiences at centers’ activities, health examination, to participate in training programs, skill improvement training by topics suitable to needs. Thanks to that, women can learn and work together to produce and develop the economy”, added Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen.

Particularly as the director of the cooperative, through TYM’s activities, Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen has many opportunities to directly approach the members of the cooperative, know the thoughts and aspirations of the women, come up with practical and effective ideas and plans to implement and direct the cooperative. Ms. Huyen also has the opportunity to participate in many fairs organized and connected by TYM, her safe vegetable products are also sold at TYM member’s outlets.

Ms. Huyen said that in the near future, she will continue to apply for a loan from TYM, to open a factory and open a shop to sell products from green vegetables such as organic fertilizers, biological products, to bring green and safe vegetable closer to the community.
Referring to the Women’s Startup Contest 2021 organized by the Central Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union, Ms. Huyen shared that this was a memorable experience and a great opportunity for her. Until now, she still can’t believe that she can overcome so many projects/ideas of women nationwide and has won a prize. In addition to the recognition of the Organizing Committee, Ms. Huyen believes that the knowledge and experience that she has learned through the sharing of other contestants and the courses within the framework of this contest is extremely valuable to her. For her, participating in this contest is a chance and she was able to go far in this contest thanks to the support of many people, including TYM. “Through TYM, I learned about the contest. I still remember, I was quite hesitant at first, but TYM staff encouraged and promised to support me as much as possible in the contest, then I was confident to participate. I thought it was just a word of encouragement, but did not expect TYM to accompany me all the way, from consulting to making application documents, presenting ideas, to providing equipment support, machines so that I have the best conditions when participating in learning and presenting the ideas of the contest. Indeed, if I manage to compete in the online competition alone, it will be a big challenge for me. TYM’s companionship in the competition as well as over the years is a meaningful gift, and I appreciate it very much.”

In 2021, Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen registered to participate in the Women’s Startup Contest organized by the Central Vietnam Women’s Union. Her project “The cooperation group to link the production chain of vegetables and fruits with OCOP standards, in the direction of PGS (recording in production)” was entered into the final round of the Women’s Startup Contest in 2021 and won the Award for the Community.

Theo Báo Phụ nữ Việt Nam