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Investors pour money into preserving medicinal herbs

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Tu Mo Rong district in Kon Tum province is famous for ginseng, or hong dang sam, and Codonopsis pilosula, a medicinal herb called 'the ginseng of the poor', as it is cheap and effective in disease treatment.

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Hong dang sam, the ginseng of the poor

 

However, over the last few years, locals have been exploiting hong dang sam in masses to sell to Chinese merchants at low prices. This has depleted forestland area and reduced medicinal herb resources.


A group of investors from HCM City City, well aware of the risk, decided to spend big money to protect and develop the valuable herb. 

They also plan to develop other precious herbs in the Central Highlands, including cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) and nam lim xanh (Ganoderma lucidum), believing this is the best way for sustainable development.

Fresh hong dang sam is traded at VND100,000 per kilogram in the market, while dried hong dang sam VND400,000. 

Xe Dang ethnic minority people grow this kind of ginseng on a large area. However, as they don’t have effective processing methods, hong dang sam is mostly soaked in alcohol or dried.

Over the last 10 years demand for functional food products has risen, but some think that Vietnam should only export raw materials and import finished products.

However, Do Hoang Hai, called Nam Khoa by locals, the founder and chair of the Saigon Research Institute for Medicinal Herb Conservation and Development (SMI), and his co-workers, believe that Vietnam has the capacity to make functional food. 

Nam Khoa and his group of investors set up SMI, a medicinal herb center in Kon Plong district of Kon Tum province and a seedling center in Kbang district of Gia Lai province. They have also developed a park for conserving and developing herbs to protect genetic sources.

Kon Tum and Gia Lai are among the very few provinces in Vietnam which have a moderate climate all year round. There are also large areas of basalt soil.

“People call the areas ‘the second Da Lat’. But we call them ‘Da Lat of 100 years ago’ when it was not affected by urbanization,” Nam Khoa said.

“This is the ideal place to develop large-scale herb forests,” he said. 

In late May 2017, SMI organized a training course to show Tu Mo Rong people how to grow herbs. It collected hong dang sam from farmers to make products for medical and beauty care.

 

 

Source: VietNamNet

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