Nguyen Thu Trang, Agriterra business advisor, wrote a blog about an ambitious young Vietnamese coffee grower.
Working as a business advisor in a social communist country as Vietnam, our everyday task is to support the development of cooperatives and support farmers. It would be extremely difficult to tell such a story without seeing a real successful cooperative nor meeting inspiring farmers that could truly motivate me and make me believe in such a society where smallholder farmers matter.
It is the story of a young coffee grower, Vu Dinh Hoan, a farmer’s son, 29 years old and full of energy. After graduating from a university in Ho Chi Minh City (the biggest city in Vietnam), he came back home and he is now working with his father at the farm. Seeing the potential in the coffee business, Hoan has joined Minh Toan Loi (MTL) cooperative in 2014, where he works for the cooperative as a salesperson. It was never an easy road for Hoan to work with his father who is also the chairman of the cooperative. Hoan had to work even harder to overshadow his father and prove himself worthy.
As a youngster after graduating, he found his way to design the logo for MTL. Without speaking good English, he was trying to communicate his coffee to the world by using google translation. The passion for coffee business went beyond his expectations; he convinced Minh Toan Loi not only to collect and sell green bean coffee but also to go further on the value chain and step into roasting business. Hoan attended classes on coffee cupping and learning how to roast. While sharing the cupping test with me, Hoan said: ”I always thought my coffee was good, but now I learned that it is not good enough...”. His sincere and honest attitude is impressive. The new roast is a new promising business for Mihn Toan Loi since it sold 2 tons at launching in the first year and increased by 50% in 2018.
During my short assignment at the cooperative, this young and eager man never miss an appointment, he took our advisory session seriously and he’s very confident to share his views and ideas. It has been only 4-5 years since he started working with the cooperative, but Hoan has shown his competency and has been a great asset to Minh Toan Loi.
I always keep in mind this man, with his very thin figure and bright eyes, who dares to dream and follow his passion. Holding the coffee package that Hoan ground himself, I feel so proud and see this young energetic man as the future of the cooperative.
Thank you for being my inspiration, I need you, as well as more young farmers like you, to inspire me so my colleagues and I can continue selling our story to this world where farmers together make the difference.
Nguyen Thu Trang – Agriterra business advisor