Cinnamon growing helps reduce poverty in Yen Bai province

Ban Thi Thu’s family found it hard to make ends meet 10 years ago. Everything has changed for the better since they shifted from growing rice to growing cinnamon. Their first cinnamon harvest was in 2008. In 2015 alone they earned 40,000 USD, which enabled them to build a house and buy a car. Thu said: “Cinnamon growing has earned us enough money to build a house and pay for our children’s tuitions. I think Dao people should grow cinnamon to become better off.” The cinnamon market was steady last year giving people in Vien Son commune stable incomes of 10,000-50,000 USD. Ban Huu An said: “We had a joyful Tet thanks to the steady price of cinnamon. We don’t forget our traditions and often include them in ceremonies and festivals as a way to preserve our Dao culture.” Spring is when Dao people begin to grow cinnamon. They hold meetings to discuss growing and tending techniques and find the best ways to make the most of cinnamon trees. Ban Phuc Hin, Chairman of the Vien Son communal People’s Committee, said: “We have persuaded locals not to spray pesticides and insecticides on cinnamon trees, which diminishes the quality of their products and harms the environment.” Yen Bai province now has 30,000 hectares under cinnamon cultivation. Van Yen district alone has 23,000 hectares. In 2015 the district sold 7,000 tons of cinnamon bark, more than 55,000 tons of cinnamon leaves, and thousands of cubic meters of wood, earning approximately 20 million USD. Ha Duc Anh, Vice-chairman of the Van Yen district People’s Committee, said: “We’ll continue to improve the management of cinnamon growing areas and product quality from selecting cinnamon varieties and tending to harvesting and processing. We’ll try to find buyers for local products.”