Le Ngoc Tuan has a passion for researching and breeding Cordyceps sinensis
Having a passion for doing research
Since he was still a student at his university, Le Ngoc Tuan (majoring in Biology Pedagogy, University of Education, Hue University) was passionate about researching edible and medicinal mushrooms. That hobby motivated the young man to cherish the plan to live with his passion.
In 2017, after a long time of accumulating experience and money, Le Ngoc Tuan decided to start a business with an abalone growing model, and achieved certain successes. "Making hay while the sun shines", Tuan continues to invest in developing a model of culturing and producing cordyceps sinensis.
Talking about his decision, Tuan said that producing medicinal mushrooms is the biggest challenge in the mushroom industry. This is also a relatively new direction within Thua Thien Hue and there are numerous opportunities to exploit the market potential of cordyceps sinensis.
Products from Le Ngoc Tuan's cordyceps sinensis are of great interest to customers
In early 2020, Le Ngoc Tuan decided to choose the hilly area of his hometown - Huong Binh (Huong Tra town) as a place to start up a business in high-tech agriculture, with two factories producing abalone mushrooms and cordyceps in an area of nearly 4000m2, and the nearly 2 billion VND investment cost.
According to Tuan, the economy of Huong Binh people mainly relies on two main crops, rubber and acacia. These are two types of trees that make great contributions to poverty reduction in the locality, but they are seasonal and low-economic. Being concerned and eager to get rich in the motherland, he and six other members established Narasa Green Agricultural Cooperative and created jobs for many local people.
The first steps
On the first days of starting his business, Mr. Tuan had to go to Dong Nai to learn from experts in producing the model of cordyceps sinensis. Thanks to the knowledge accumulated during more than 2 years of working in the research department of a company, it only took him a short time to master the process and experience, then decided to import embryos to Thua Thien Hue for testing.
Le Ngoc Tuan at the 2022 Luong Dinh Award Ceremony
One of the considerable difficulties when starting a business is still the capital, especially investing in high-tech agriculture, which requires a fairly large amount of money. While embarking on the experiment of culturing and mixing cordyceps sinensis, there were many times that Le Ngoc Tuan had failed because the factory and equipment were not up to standard due to a lack of funds. Since then, he has focused on researching and applying accumulated knowledge and experience to make the necessary machines and tools by himself to save costs.
Tuan confided that the research to lay the foundation for the product was difficult, but the story of developing and expanding the product business was more challenging. In the early days, cordyceps sinensis of the cooperative only consisted of fresh and dried products; so, it was difficult to approach and satisfy the customers. That motivation had pushed him to continue "burying his head" in researching and learning more ways of processing and combining this plant to diversify the cordyceps sinensis product line.
In early 2021, the cooperative successfully developed many different cordyceps sinensis product lines from down-market to high-end ones, such as premium dried, bird’s nest-distilled cordyceps, honey-soaked cordyceps, Cordyceps wine, etc. Thanks to the investment in packaging and careful packaging, the product is increasingly perfected and known by a large number of customers.
Since then, Mr. Tuan and his associates have established showroom and representative office in Hue City, building a sales and marketing team to continue to develop the brand.
Up to now, the Narasa brand name has had more franchised showrooms in Quang Nam province, Da Nang city, and Ho Chi Minh city. After nearly 3 years of building up the brand, the cooperative's revenue by 2021 was nearly 3 billion VND and the organization has contributed to creating jobs for 15 regular workers and 5 seasonal workers.
“A green passion”
Sharing the joy of receiving the Luong Dinh Cua Award, Le Ngoc Tuan said that this was not only an honor but also a blessing to be able to "swim into the big sea", having the opportunity to exchange the experience and learn from young people with the same ambition to start up a business. From this, Tuan felt that he needed to make more efforts to continue developing the brand to be able to stick with his passion for green farming. In the long term, the cooperative will continue to invest in developing more factories to bring more and more quality products and reach out to the whole country, heading towards the international market.
Currently, Le Ngoc Tuan has also established a model of Narasa Hills - Edu farm, Coffee, BBQ Camp in Huong Thuy town. This is also a new direction to help build Narasa's brand in the direction of organic agriculture based on experiential tourism services.
In the coming time, students and tourists can visit and experience the production of organic vegetables, abalone mushrooms, cordyceps, etc., with their own hands. In addition, the production and supply of organic vegetables and solutions for growing vegetables in each household is also a potential business direction.
“The brand name “Narasa” stands for “Nam (mushrooms)- Rau sach (Clean Vegetables)”. This is also the guideline of myself and my partners to develop organic agriculture on our land, contributing to building a green life for everyone,” shared Le Ngoc Tuan about his plans.
Luong Dinh Cua Award is a noble award of the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to praise, honor, and reward typical young people in production, business, starting up a business, participating in the socio-economic development, new rural construction, transfer of scientific and technical advances and environmental protection.
Story and photos: Minh Nguyen