return icon

Van Kieu ethnic minority man protects the forest by taking it home

Hồ Ra Ơi, a Vân Kiều ethnic minority man in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Krông, has his own unique way of protecting the forest.



When local people were cutting down trees in the forest to expand their farming land more than 20 years ago, Ơi brought seedlings from the forest to plant in his garden in Hướng Hiệp Commune to preserve the precious trees.

After decades of tending the trees, Ơi has a garden of nearly 1,000 precious huỷnh (palapi) trees. Most are up to 20 metres tall with a diameter of between 25 and 35 centimetres. The garden is estimated to be worth VNĐ450 million (US$19,400).

“When I planted the garden, I just thought I would contribute to protecting the forest. I didn’t think it would gain any economic value like this,” Ơi told online newspaper

Ơi recalled when he had to struggle to earn a living in the past. Vân Kiều would fell trees to have land for crops and after harvesting the crops, they would encroach further into the forest for agricultural production.

Ơi chose another way. He joined a group scavenging for unexploded bombs to sell as scrap metal. Central Quảng Trị Province remained riddled with bombs and mines after the American War. Ơi, together with other men, walked in the forest, searched and cut up rusted bombs and shells for scrap metal. Each trip lasted for 10 days or more.

In a trip in 1998, Ơi was assigned to walk back home to get rice. He noticed there were many huỷnh seedlings – a prime and rare forest tree species – along the road.

Ơi decided to take some seedlings to plant in his garden.

Since then, Ơi took a basket with him on every trip to the forest to bring seedlings home.

The 26-year-old man tried to go further in the forest to get different kinds of seedlings. He stayed in the forest for a whole week, searching for and digging out trees in daytime and setting up tents to sleep at night.

His garden was soon filled with trees.

However, many died a short time after being planted in his garden.

“I had no experience in plugging small trees from the forest. The trees must be dug out to keep their roots, so they can develop easily,” he said.

Ơi cleaned the roots of the trees and moved wild trees to keep the room for them to grow.

After 20 years, the trees now stand tall and proud. Ơi said a local person came to buy his garden and offered VNĐ500,000 ($19) per tree, but he refused.

Ơi said he had two hectares of tràm (cajeput) trees, which brought him VNĐ120 million ($5,160) each year. He wanted to keep the huỷnh garden for his four children, including three daughters and one son.

He said he was happy to know the forest was under stricter control. Those who wanted to plant timber trees could buy seedlings instead of walking to the forest searching for them like him.

The development of the trees has surprised local residents and local authorities.

Ơi's story has been told many times as a way of encouraging people to protect the forest. Some households are trying to plant forests on their land as well.

Hồ Chí Cường, chairman of Hướng Hiệp Commune’s People’s Committee, said this was a new model in the commune. Ơi was the first resident to grow more than 1,000 precious trees successfully.

Cường said there was no assessment in terms of economic value, but it was an effort to protect the forest. Forest protection would be more effective if the model was expanded. VNS


Power shortage worries increase hunger for coal

Vietnam is maximising its coal mining output amid widespread power outages in the north.

Indicators ripe for wave of tech startup successes

Venture capital investment flows into Vietnam, particularly from Singapore, are on track to surpass the previous level, propelled by the country’s buoyant tech startup scene.

Tourism industry faces serious labor shortage

Because of low pay, many workers have left the tourism sector.

Industrial parks, economic zones absorb US$ 230 billion in foreign direct investment

Industrial parks (IPs) and economic zones (EZs) across the country have attracted nearly 11,000 foreign direct investment projects worth US$230 billion, according to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong.

Property, fishery sectors face hardship as credit chokes

At a government-to-business conference held yesterday, representatives of business associations expressed their concern over being unable to access bank loans as banks are running out of credit growth quotas.

Utilising every opportunity to grow and overcome challenges

That is the message and guideline of Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at the national conference on how to sustainably develop.

Outbound tours to Europe rocked by passport tangle

A number of Vietnamese outbound travel companies have already been affected by the decision of some European nations to not recognise Vietnam’s new passports.

Young people discover the universe via telescopes

Many young people have been spending time and money to buy telescopes and build rooftop observatories to admire the wonders of the universe.

Ample room remains for Vietnam’s exports to EU

There is still a lot of room for Vietnamese goods to expand their presence in the European Union (EU) market, but accessing its retail distribution systems is extremely important, heard a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on August 11.

Vietnam yet rolls out Covid jabs for under-5s

Vietnam has yet planned to get younger kids aged under five vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Vietnam to host Mekong Tourism Forum in October

Vietnam is scheduled to host the 2022 Mekong Tourism Forum, themed “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”, from October 9 – 14, the first in-person meeting of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) destinations since the pandemic began in 2019.

Cryptocurrencies show high risks

Even though cryptocurrencies are not legally recognized in Vietnam, they have gradually become popular due to unlawful trading via specific platforms.

Pandemic-hit labourers continue to receive financial support

The Unemployment Insurance Fund plans to pay out 1.15 trillion VND (49.15 million USD) to support labourers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a resolution issued by the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee.

Seven petroleum wholesalers’ licenses suspended

The Ministry of Industry and Trade suspended the operating licenses of seven key petroleum import and export businesses after inspecting 33 wholesalers in February this year.

President reduces death penalties to life sentences for 21 prisoners

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on August 12 decided to reduce death penalties to life sentences for 21 prisoners, including two foreigners.