Medicinal herbs bring prosperity to Lai Chau’s mountain hamlets

(VOVWORLD) - For generations, people living in the mountains of Lai Chau province have used medicinal herbs from the forest to treat health problems. Now they are growing these plants on a larger scale to increase their income, reduce poverty, and improve their standard of living.
Medicinal herbs bring prosperity to Lai Chau’s mountain hamlets - ảnh 1Medicinal herbs gardens are giving people in mountain hamlets in Phong Tho a more prosperous life. (Photo:  VOV)

Phan Phu Lieu is a member of the Dao ethnic minority, who are famous for their medicinal herb remedies.

He now works at a local medical station and grows medicinal herbs at his house and throughout Si Lo Lau commune in Phong Tho district.

After learning about medicinal herbs from experts around the region, in 2018 Lieu invested 26,000 USD in a pilot program to grow 4,000 false ginseng trees.

The model has earned him an income of 8,800 USD a year. His nickname is now "False ginseng Lieu".

“I want to preserve our Vietnamese medicinal plants and teach my fellow villagers how to increase their incomes. It takes 6 or 7 years of growing and taking care of the medicinal plants before you get a final product,” Lieu told VOV.

Si Lo Lau border commune is 80km north of the center of Phong Tho district. It’s Lai Chau’s hub for the medicinal plants the Dao ethnic people use to treat health problems.

Tan Lao San, Vice Chairman of the commune’s People's Committee, said, “We have organized training courses to teach 60 villagers to grow false ginseng and Paris polyphylla and have found businesses and cooperatives to buy their output. The medicinal herb models launched last year have proved more profitable.”

Lai Chau has 900 types of medicinal herbs, some with a very high retail value.

The province has planted nearly 18,000 hectares of medicinal plants, including cinnamon, medlar, Lai Chau ginseng, and female ginseng.

Medicinal herbs bring prosperity to Lai Chau’s mountain hamlets - ảnh 2A number of models for cultivating medicinal plants have been developed in mountain hamlets. (Photo: VOV)

Vuong The Man, Chairman of the People's Committee of Phong Tho district, said thanks to the soil and climate suitable for growing herbs, the district now has Paris polyphylla, Lai Chau ginseng, and bastard cardamom, and wants to grow more herbs that will benefit the local economy.

“We are building brands for ‘One Commune One Product’ (OCOP) products and looking for output markets,” said Man.

Dang Van Chau, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said experts have been sent out to show people how to use new production, harvest, and preservation techniques to improve the quality of their medicinal herbs.

Capital has been mobilized from various government programs to help the local growers, he said.

“People growing medicinal plants in mountain hamlets have developed a number of products and introduced OCOP items rated 3 stars with support from the local administration. These include artichoke, jiaogulan, and medicine for treating rheumatism,” said Chau.

Turning medicinal herb gardens into significant revenue resources for the locals requires the cooperation of farmers, local authorities, scientists, and businesses.