Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Da Bac district of Hoa Binh province is mountainous areas, in the North West and 4 hours by car from Hanoi, capital of Vietnam. The total natural area of Da Bac is 81,000 ha, which is mainly hill land, forest with high slope and rough terrain, as so it is difficult for transportation. The population of Da Bac is 48,800, being Tay, Muong, Kinh, Dao and Thai ethnic minority groups, who are living in 164 villages.
Da Bac is a district with various difficulties. This district is the most affected by Hoa Binh Hydro-Power Plant project, i.e. resettlement of local people, who were dwelling in the big water reservoir of Da river. Moreover, it is one of the 62 poorest districts in the whole country. As district survey in 2009 the poverty rate of the district is 30% (USD 384/year/person)... The local people here live mainly on agricultural and forestry productions and they are often facing many difficulties as food shortage, poverty, poor infrastructures, low educational level, poor production facilities and exhausted natural resources because of over exploitations…
The proposed project site is four communes namely Tan Pheo, Dong Ruong, Dong Chum and Doan Ket of Da Bac district, Hoa Binh province. Those communes are really poor communes. The proverty rates are 33.8% for Tan Pheo, 36.22% for Dong Ruong, 39.77% for Dong Chum, and 58.08% for Doan Ket . These communes are located in the area of Phu Canh Nature Reserve and its buffer area, where there is a plentiful medicinal herb source, favourable for the implementation of the proposed project.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Medicinal plants not only have immediate value to medical treatment and health care, but can be a good source of income for households. If natual medicinal plants is exploited in sustainable way and cultivated more for herbal medicine industry, it can contribute to country economic grothw also.
In Vietnam, traditional medicine system by government and by private have been in existence for long time providing good health care service to people. Nevertheless, poor or medium families processing medicinal plants for their own and for sale are very few. Most of herbal medicine entrepreneurs are from more advantaged groups.
This initiative will help the poor ethnic minority people to generate income from medicinal plants in sutainable way. They will be trained for proper exploitation, preservation of natural medicinal plants, growing in their garden medicinal plants with high values but in exhausted situation, initial processing medical plants and marketing and selling intial products.
After this pilot phase, we plan to continue supporting the communities to expand their business both in product quantity and product diversification and access to more markets. The follow up phase will help the villagers in producing more sophisticated products like instant powder tea and or sirup, etc. Poor villagers from ethnic minority groups can become herbal medicine entrepreneurs like others from more advantaged groups.
This project will also contribute to reducing threat of over exploitation of natural resource while protecting biodiversity for our future generation