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Ginseng queen grows over 600 medicinal plants

Update: January, 29/2018 - 09:00
Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thương and a ginseng root that sold for VNĐ200 million (US$8,800). — Photo tienphong.vn
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG NAM — Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thương, 33, runs a large ginseng garden with more than 600 plants and many other traditional herbal medicine plants in Trà Cang Commune in Nam Trà My District in the central province of Quảng Nam.

Local residents are impressed by the effort she puts into her work. Thương had to leave school when she finished grade eight, and went to HCM City to work as a domestic helper. She also worked in industrial zones. However, her low earnings did little to improve her family’s lifestyle.

When she was 22 years old, she returned to her hometown in Quảng Nam Province and set up a business in the Nam Trà My mountain area.

At first, Thương opened a small grocery shop. Then several residents asked her to help them sell Ngọc Linh ginseng they found growing in the forest.

Ngọc Linh ginseng is a prized herb and the price keeps rising. Many residents go to the forest searching for it.

However, Thương was worried that the ginseng would be over-exploited and wondered about planting the valuable plant to preserve it.

Thương planted 50 ginseng bushes in 2015. However, most were eaten by crickets in just one night. “I cried a lot because all of my capital was invested in it,” Thương said to the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

Thương covered the remaining bushes to prevent them, read more documents and met people with more experience in planting ginseng.

She now grows 600 thriving Ngọc Linh ginseng bushes and many other traditional herbal plants.

“Everyone knows ginseng’s value, but if we exploit it without protection, the plant will become extinct,” she said.

“I wanted to set up a farm to protect the valuable plant, but preservation needs the co-operation of the whole community,” said Thương.

Thương occasionally buys wild ginseng found by locals. In June, 2016, Hồ Văn Hạnh, who lives in Trà Linh Commune, offered Hương  a 50 gramme piece of wild ginseng that he had dug up. He wanted VNĐ1 million (US$40).

But the experienced Thương told Hạnh that his piece of ginseng came from a huge plant and told him to search for it.

Hạnh returned to the place where he had found the ginseng and dug up a root weighing nearly one kilogramme, which he sold for VNĐ200 million ($8,800). Not only Hạnh, but also other residents admired Thương for her knowledge.

Hồ Quang Bửu, chairman of the Nam Trà My District People’s Committee, told the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that Thương was a creative young woman, adding that her idea of developing Ngọc Linh ginseng farms and traditional herbs was wonderful. — VNS 

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