R&D director helps Sa Pa farmers escape poverty through medicinal plants

(VOVWORLD) - Sa Pa town in Lao Cai province is beginning to grow more medicinal plants particularly artichokes. Its new interest in medicinal herbs was awakened by Do Tien Sy, the director the Traphaco Joint Stock Company which produces natural healthcare products.

R&D director helps Sa Pa farmers escape poverty through medicinal plants - ảnh 1

Do Tien Sy (first from left).

In 2010, deputy head of Traphaco’s R&D team Do Tien Sy was sent to Lao Cai province to do research on artichoke cultivation in Sa Pa and Bac Ha district. Most local farmers are ethnic minority people and it took Sy a long time to persuade them to shift from growing rice and corn to artichokes.

 “At first, I had to spend a lot of time building trust among the local farmers. We gave them new cultivation techniques, seedlings, and loans to encourage them to grow artichokes,” Sy said. 

For 10 years, Sy has been going house to house in Sa Pa and Bac Ha to encourage artichoke farming. In addition to helping farmers boost their productivity, Sy also helped them find outlets for their artichokes. Now, the artichoke area covers more than 75 hectares in Sapa and 25 hectares in Bac Ha district and generates about 6,500 USD per hectare per year.

Do Tien Sy and his collegue won a VIFOTEC Science and Technology Award for their research on the production of liver medicine. Their product has twice been named one of the “Top 10 Best Vietnamese Brands” and is prescribed at more than 500 medical clinics. Ms. Vu Thi Thuan, Traphaco Chairwoman, said: “Sy is an enthusiastic and responsible person. After setting up a sustainable medicinal herb area in Sa Pa, he stayed to help local farmers develop their farms and improve their living conditions”.

Do Tien Sy received the title Emeritus Physician and the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Merit for his contributions to the community. A team of pharmacists from the Traphaco Sa Pa Company won a KOVA award for their research on artichoke cultivation in the northern mountains.