Vo Mieu commune is one of the 14 communes of Thanh Son district that have been chosen to transform into a tea-plantation area of Phu Tho province. Tea has been the main source of livelihood provision of Vo Mieu people for a very long time.
From 2012, with the technical and financial support from the project of SRD, many tea producing families have increased their knowledge and skills about organic tea producing techniques. They have also received support from the project to buy input materials and new varieties of tea in order to improve the quality of both fresh and dried tea.
In the next period, the management board and its member intend to utilize the advantage, which was: all the tea-cultivating families in the club have a similar capacity and understanding of techniques to produce safe tea. There were some member’s families applying the safe-tea producing process, however, because of the small scale and unstable demand, customers were still not aware of this product.
How can farmers sell safe tea produced by club members with a higher price compared to the unsafe tea?
The management board and the tea producing families in the club have participated in a meeting to share the experiences they have gained in the field trip where the visited the safe tea producing models in Phu Tho district of Thai Nguyen province. That meeting aimed at identifying the direction to sustainably develop tea for members of the club.
After 3 meetings with the members of the club, at the end of May 2013, with the support of SRD, one safe-tea producing group has been established with the participation of 16 tea-manufacturing families of Tan Binh, Trai Giao and Thanh Ha areas of Vo Mieu commune.
Meeting between the management board of the club and core members of the group about producing efficiency, organizational structure and draft of regulations.
In the first phase, one family will experiment on the size of 720 m2 per family and connect all of different phases namely: manufacturing, processing and selling in order to build the reputation for the safe tea of the group. Members of the group have agreed to create a regulation containing 11 clauses about the application of technical principles to produce safe tea such as: cultivating, gathering, processing, packing and selling phases. More specially, families will only use the microbiological organic fertilizer, which is self-produced by the farmers using rubbish and organic waste, which is generated from animal husbandry. They also only use pesticides with biological origin. Other families in the group also commit to gather tea by hand to ensure the quality of the fresh tea.
In the next phase, the project will cooperate with the Club management board to support farmers to improve the quality of their management capacity of the safe tea and also build a system to examine the product quality. The management board and its members will continue to attend trainings in order to improve their knowledge and skills in business and marketing.
Along with the re-organization of the production, the group has also created a plan to mobilize fund from members by the establishment of the saving-credit model. In this phase, fund contributed by member as well as fund borrowed from the project will be used to organize transaction activities, purchase and sell input materials, equipment to process and package tea.
Producing tea following a sustainable manner is a compulsory requirement in order to build a prestigious brand name for Vo Mieu tea. The management and 16 members hope that the experiments of the groups will lay a foundation for the expansion of tea-growing in the area and in the club and the whole Vo Mieu commune. It will also help farmers who grow tea here to assert the advantages of safe tea in comparison to the normal tea in the market.