Vietnam is not unknown to Adya. In a kind of try-out we visited farmers in Da Lat and spoke to officials in Ha Noi, the capital. At the time I was wondering what I could do to develop a professional relation with the country and its people. It never left my mind, even when starting a relation with Indian cooperatives for spices and fruits.
We know Vietnam for its often violent history (French occupation, American invasion and defeat) and food professionals know it for the products it is exporting (certain fish, rice, cashew, fruits). Vietnam is a lot more than that, off course. I got to know the people while travelling with relatives there out of the beaten track, away from cruises and guided groups.
This kind of travelling gave us the chance to get in touch with the Vietnamese people living in smaller towns uphill. This is what is so interesting in Vietnam. There is more then 2000 km coastline and there are fertile fields (the ones that have not been bombed by Agent Orange) , hillsides and true mountains, especially in the North close to China. There is, I would say, plenty of food available and the country is working to get its infrastructure right for every inhabitant.
But even without paved roads we can reach out to the people that live in Vietnam but have a different background then the Kinh people (main etnic group with approx. 86% of the inhabitants). They are the 53 other minorities living mostly uphill. The groups we encounter in Northern Vietnam are mostly originating from China and still have historical links there.
Adya is very proud to be able to start up a true collaboration with families of the Dao minority. Some 700 000 people are part of that minority and live in the most northern parts of Vietnam. We now started working with the Red Dao families living in Ha Giang province. As many of the minority groups in the North, they tend to dress in particular ancient habits.
The 46 families are united in their green tea business. For generations now they are harvesting leaves from ancient tea trees (camilla sinensis assamica). The trees are completely organic and as such certified for export. Working directly with farmers groups and present their local products and story to the conscious consumers in Europe, that is what we're working for.
Welcome, Fin Ho Tea cooperative, Ms. Huong Hoang, Mr. Menh and the families investing in their local biodiversity and development. Welcome to the Adya community!