VIETNAM STARANISEED CASSIA MANUFACTURING AND EXPORTING JOINT STOCK COMPANY (VINASAMEX., JSC) owns up to 8 international organic product certifications.
Vinasamex Company is working with highland farmers to affirm the position of Vietnamese cinnamon and anise products in the most high-end and fastidious markets in the world: Europe, America, Japan, Korea, and Canada …
Vietnam is one of the 5 countries with the largest cinnamon growing area in the world, with 80,000 hectares, concentrated mainly in Yen Bai and Quang Nam.
More specifically, only Vietnam and China are the only two countries in the world lucky to own anise, with the area of this tree in our country being about 40,000 hectares, concentrated mainly in Lang Son. However, many years ago, people growing cinnamon had not high incomes, because products are mainly purchased and exported to China by traders at low prices.
In 2007, the border crossing in the Lang Son area was filled with piles of anise flowers on trucks waiting to be exported to China, but Chinese traders pressed the price, reluctant to accept cheap sales or dumping.
At this time, Nguyen Que Anh is trading electronic components imported from China. Seeing this scene, Nguyen Que Anh tried to contact Chinese traders he knew, both connecting to help traders consume anise cinnamon products and at the same time earn some income from eating the price difference.
In 2012, Que Anh and his wife Nguyen Thi Huyen established Vinasamex Company based in Gia Lam (Hanoi), to export cinnamon anise. Ms. Huyen graduated from university majoring in English, and thanks to her foreign language skills, has found import partners in India and Bangladesh.
In 2015, Huyen and his wife embarked on the hardest task of convincing and training cinnamon farmers to grow cinnamon according to organic processes.
“But the difficulty is not in the principle of zero chemicals, because in poor mountainous areas, farmers already do not have money to buy fertilizers with pesticides. The problem is that the traditional pruning, harvesting, and processing habits of ethnic minorities go against the organic way.
Witnessing with their own eyes farmers climbing anise trees up to 15m high with rudimentary tools, I understand how dangerous this job is”, Nguyen Thi Huyen shared.
In order to create a trust for relatives, she initially had to rely on government agencies for advocacy and direction. The company and farmers proceeded to establish cooperatives, commit to offtake and buy products at high prices so that they do not have to worry about being stockpiled or suffering from the crop – depreciation.
As of February 25, 2020, the company’s material area gathered 1,349 households growing anise, and cinnamon in Lang Son, Yen Bai, and Lao Cai with a total organic area of up to 1,600 hectares. In January 2020, Vinasamex Company and the People’s Committee of Trang Dinh district, Lang Son held a signing ceremony for cooperation in investment, development of raw material areas, and processing of organic anise cinnamon in Trang Dinh district. Accordingly, the two sides will carry out cooperation activities to develop cinnamon material areas including building processing plants, linking investment in product consumption, etc.
With the contract with Vinasamex, farmers are not only guaranteed output at a higher selling price than the market price but also receive other supports such as new sacks, collection tools to help people be safer, encouraging gifts to encourage poor households, etc, and other.
Vinasamex provides additional expenses for people to attend training sessions held with the help of non-governmental organizations.
After working with farmers to develop raw material areas, by 2017, Vinasamex was granted international organic certification from the US, Japan, and Europe.
At the end of 2017, Ms. Huyen also obtained a number of international certificates of food safety, and international food standards (IFS). Vinasamex’s cinnamon and anise products have also achieved Fair Trade and For Life certifications.
“However, things are not as simple as imagined, because only by obtaining Organic EU certification, Vinasamex must strictly comply with the set standards, from seeds, soil, care, collection to processing, packaging…”, Nguyen Thi Huyen said.
Up to now, Vinasamex has a factory of 15,000 m2 with a modern machinery system.
Currently, products from cinnamon and anise the Company is being exported to many countries: India, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, USA, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh … “In the past, low-quality cinnamon was only $2,000 to India, but when exported to high-end markets, the price could reach $5,000, sometimes up to $7,000. We determined that we could not focus on output but on product value. Sell little but the value must be high”, Ms. Huyen shared.