Two seemingly unrelated economic fields, agriculture and tourism, have partnered harmoniously to generate unique products, attracting domestic and particularly foreign visitors and opening a new way for Vietnam’s agricultural sector to add more value to its products.
During the recent field trip of 30 loyal customers, who were invited by organic food supplier ORFARM to the Thuy Thien Nhu farm in Hoa Binh province, many of them expressed their admiration for the company’s production processes.
It was the very first time for most of them to visit the production facility of an organic food brand, listen to the introductions, and observe the entire production process with their own eyes.
ORFARM’s approach to food is unique and all products with its label are grown and bred in accordance with the Japanese eco-friendly EM technology™ (Effective Microorganism). The technology is based on the idea of a coexistence with native and originally-dominant microorganisms, as opposed to an exclusion of them.
Bui Bich Lien, CEO of Thuy Thien Nhu farm, said that based on the suggestions from previous visitors who had attended field trips and were impressed by the company’s methods, ORFARM has decided to merge organic farming and tourism into an organic agri-tourism model since early 2019.
This model targets high-income customers, who are already enjoying ORFARM’s products, with many of them being foreigners living in Vietnam. Besides visiting and enjoying the products from the farm, the guests could stay overnight and directly participate in one of the steps of production, the breeding and harvesting of the farm’s products.
“What visitors harvest themselves here, will be the ingredients for their meals. In addition, they can buy food from the farm as special gifts to bring home from the trip. We suppose this model will attract visitors because it gives a lot of new experience and serves a broader purpose than common tourism models,” said Lien.
While ORFARM is one of the pioneers of this new symbiotic model, many other agricultural businesses also pay attention to develop tourism activities and help raise consumers’ awareness of their products.
“In the near future, we plan to extend our bio-agricultural tourism to other destinations, so that there will hopefully be many more people to benefit from the green and environmentally-friendly EM technology™. This contributes to forming new and special tourism models while promoting the full value of organic agriculture,” Lien shared with VIR.
As a country with an intensely developed agricultural sector and around 60 per cent of its population living in rural areas, Vietnam gains a lot of advantages by developing agri-tourism. The new models could make use of its many products such as fruit-laden orchards, farms, fresh fruit gardens, and traditional villages.
According to Lien, agriculture is still a major source of income for farmers. However, tourism based on agricultural advantages contributes to increasing the value of these products, helping them to stabilise their lives as well as preserving traditional values of rural areas.
ORFARM, known as the country’s first Vietnamese-made organic food brand since 2013, boasts showrooms in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.