Member: Nguyen Thi Loan
Living: Nam Dinh province
THE WOMEN BRINGING MUSHROOM FARMING BUSINESS TO Y YEN
In 2018, Ms. Nguyen Thi Loan was one of the 20 outstanding participants of the course “Improving small business management skills for female entrepreneurs”. Under this special course, TYM has focused on female entrepreneurs who have not only escaped from poverty but also developed their own businesses.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Loan grew up in a family engaging in the mushroom farming for years in Vinh Yen town, Vinh Phuc province. After getting married in 2009, she lived with her husband’s family in Y Yen district, Nam Dinh province. The main income of the family was merely from working as a laborer and cultivation in a few acres of land; thus, their economic situation was difficult. Later, they decided to work as workers at the Thang Long Northern Industrial Park. However, the salary of workers was not enough; the job required them work overtime frequently so they did not have time for children. In that situation, they started to think of their traditional business of growing clean mushroom. Mushroom cultivation required simple and available raw materials with low cost. The harvest time was short so they could grow a number of seasons within a year. Each harvest could bring them higher profit than agricultural production. In addition, their parent-in-law had experience by growing mushroom for years… Identifying that mushroom farming was new in Y Yen district; they saw the new business opportunity for the family. Ms. Loan and her husband were determined to bring mushroom farming to the locality. Right after that, they registered for the mushroom-growing course at the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences to have basic knowledge and techniques on modern and scientific mushroom cultivation. Although she accumulated certain knowledge, she wondered how to get enough capital to start her career.
The opportunity came when she learned about TYM through the Women’s Union. Initially, she borrowed from TYM VND 7 million. Together with her own capital, she started to build a mushroom planting facility with an area of 150m2 in 2015. However, not everything went well as their wish. After the first month, many bags of mushroom were damaged due to lack of proper care. Every day, she picked up every left mushroom flower and sold it to nearby relatives. She did not know when she could recover the invested capital. Besides, she had to pay the interest every week. Not only that, mushroom was a strange food for the local people who only get to know vegetables and fish. At this time, she felt like it was difficult to develop a long-term mushroom career. With the encouragement of her husband and the enthusiastic support of relatives, she did not allow herself to be discouraged. After one year, she paid off her 50-week loan and continued to borrow VND 30 million from TYM to further investing in two new mushroom varieties. These two types could provide high economic value and be harvested after two to three months. In addition, she spent time to do marketing about their products inside and outside the district. Gradually their products have become well known and found a place in the market. Through every mushroom crop, she gained more experience. Moreover, with good reputation, she gained many new sustainable customers. Capital from TYM was revolved from year to year that helped her feel secure in her business. By June 2017, after paid of her micro-loan, they bravely borrowed a MSE loan of VND 50 million to expand the farming. Currently, Ms. Loan’s oyster mushroom growing facility has become a reliable address to supply oyster mushrooms to stalls in markets of Yen Dong, Yen Thang and Yen Cuong communes and neighboring districts. Talking about the experience of growing mushrooms, Ms. Loan said “Growing mushrooms is not difficult, but it is hard to take care of and persevere with the profession. Choosing and treating seeds is the most important stage. Besides, packing the bags of mushroom plantation determines the success of the whole crop. The irrigation must be also taken care of; too much water makes the bags of mushroom spoiled and broken. Creating the plantation facility a humid environment for rapid growth of mushroom, and regular disinfection to avoid diseases for mushroom”.
With 4 years in mushroom cultivation, she has not really had much experience. However, with dedication, enthusiasm, hardship, the young couple has provided tons of clean mushroom products such as oyster mushroom, lingzhi mushroom, straw mushroom … with an average price of VND 30,000/kg oyster mushroom to VND 300,000/kg lingzhi mushroom. In addition, her family provides seed embryos and techniques for growing mushrooms for many other local households, generating income of hundreds of million dong a year. Up to now, from a small mushroom growing facility of 150m2, it has been expanded to 4 facilities of about 350m2 in total. It can be said that the income from growing mushrooms has helped Ms. Loan’s family to have a better and stable life. Do not want to stay with the present, Ms. Loan continues to study ways of growing other varieties of mushroom and modern care and preservation methods to develop the family’s mushroom production and business.
In the first 6 months of 2018, she was invited for two training courses on the business start-up and the business game simulation provided by TYM. “After two days of “playing and learning”, I have gained more experience. Thank TYM for facilitating me to participate, experience, understand more about the market, the accounting method, the business environment, and competitors. Those have helped me to be more determinant on the path of entrepreneurship that I have chosen!”- Loan was very happy to share. Starting a business with a clear plan, right calculation and using of the funds, with the efforts of the family, they each day increases their income and supports others to develop economy together. Ms. Loan is an example of TYM members who have strived to escape poverty for others to study and follow.
Nguyễn Thị Hải Giang