CECI Vietnam

In Tra Vinh, I had the opportunity to visit the CECI Micro-Enterprise Promotion and Rural Development Project. In the communes that I visited, the project was to help develop mushroom and tea leaves farming. Many of the farms were used to only growing rice, but because of declining prices for rice in the international market, farmers' income was declining. By developing alternative crops that yield higher income, the program hopes to raise the living standards of the poor.

The project also includes formation of ECOs, or farmer co-operatives. In Vietnam, most of the farms are very small in size. In order to switch crops, it involes an investment that an individual cannot afford to make. CECI promotes farmers working together in order to be able to buy inputs in bulk in order to decrease costs. Farmers are also able to sell together.

I had the chance to see the tea leaves that the ECOs have successfully produced since the project's founding in 1999. I think they are selling well. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to buy one for a souvenier. That would have been nice. :)

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