Products made from flax attract many foreign tourists (Photo: L.B)

Ms. Vang Thi Cau (Mong ethnic) - Head of the Production Team of Sa Phin A Agricultural and General Services Cooperative in Sa Phin Commune (Dong Van, Ha Giang) told VietNamNet.

White flax products go abroad

Weaving flax is a traditional profession of the Mong people in the Dong Van stone plateau. In the past, people were only familiar with the small, fragmented production method and paid little attention to the concept of joint ventures in production to produce commodity products. Worse, the influx of cheap Chinese manufactured goods makes brocade fabrics woven from flax even more difficult to sell.

Because of this, the lives of people on the rocky plateau were still poor.

Cherishing the idea of preserving traditional cultural identity and helping people in Sa Phin commune (Dong Van) escape poverty, Ms. Vang Thi Cau and Ms. Sung Thi Sy decided to establish Sa Phin A integrated agricultural and forestry service cooperative in late 2017. The cooperate began operating in early 2018.

After its establishment, Ms. Cau and Ms. Sy went to the homes of local people in the commune to encourage them to participate in the cooperate to have jobs with stable income. The women were taught embroidery, flax weaving and making flax products and then became members of the White Flax Cooperative.

From fragmented production, when joining the cooperative, members are assigned tasks depending on their abilities, including: weavers, tailors, embroiderers, dyers... Raw flax growing areas are also gradually formed to operate production in a closed chain.

Flax products are also changed by the cooperative to better suit market needs. For example, the Mong people used to only weave 50cm flax cloth pieces, but the cooperative improved to weave 75cm and even 90cm.

"The cooperative sells raw flax yarn, brocade fabric, and fashion products from flax...", Ms. Cau said. According to her, production is based on the scale of goods so white flax products can meet large orders. The customer base is increasingly expanding so the cooperative’s products are always sold out.

The cooperative's first export order was document bags for delegates attending UNESCO conferences. After that, the cooperative received orders from the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States. In addition, many domestic customers also choose to by white flax fabric to make fashion products...

“Currently, Lao customers order the most. More than 60% of the cooperative's flax products are exported to Laos. They not only buy fabric but also flax fibers," Ms. Cau told VietNamNet.

The cooperative's product display and sales room also attracts a large number of domestic and international tourists, bringing unique experiences to the Dong Van stone plateau. This is a source of potential customers through which the cooperative can sell products and effectively promote the White Flax brand here.

Earning several billions each year, helping people escape poverty

Many households that are members of the White Flax Cooperative in the Dong Van stone plateau have escaped poverty (Photo: L.B)

Creating a closed production chain, making large-scale products according to orders, the revenue of the White Flax Cooperative continuously increases.

In the first year of operation (2018), the cooperative earned nearly 2.5 billion VND. From 2021 until now, revenue fluctuates between 3.6-4 billion VND/year. The average income of cooperative members reaches 4-7 million VND/person/month.

The number is not too large, but it helps many households that are members of the cooperative in Sa Phin commune and Dong Van district escape poverty.

“The cooperative has 131 members. Most of them are poor, especially difficult households in the commune. But after 5 years since the cooperative was established, 40% of member households have escaped poverty," Ms. Cau said.

Ms. Sung Thi Sy - Director of White Flax Cooperative, admitted that her family used to be a poor household in Sa Phin commune. But now she earns a stable salary of about 7-10 million VND/month. Her husband also joins the cooperative with a salary of 3-4 million VND/month. Sy's family has truly escaped poverty.

Not only producing flax, the cooperative also participates in introducing products to many provinces and cities to connect markets. At the same time, it organizes vocational training classes, creating sustainable livelihoods for local people to escape poverty. The cooperative also supports 3 women to start successful businesses in ethnic costume sewing and brocade embroidery.

Ms. Sung Thi Sy - Director of the Cooperative - said that the members of the cooperative are ethnic minority women, most of whom are victims of domestic violence and trafficking victims who have returned to reintegrate into the community and poor households with special difficulties.

Therefore, the cooperative operates in a closed chain. From growing raw materials to making products, all are made by people in Sa Phin commune and Dong Van district. Because, the purpose of the cooperative is to create many jobs for ethnic people in this area.

When participating in cooperatives, member households gradually escape poverty. To date, the cooperative has 55 members households that have escaped poverty, Ms. Sy said.

Tam An