Concept

Organik farm

Internship/Volunteering

The farm can welcome interns and volunteers

In the small town of Da Lat, Vietnam, we met Organik Da Lat. This small farm of less than 5 hectares was created 15 years ago by a french doctor. Today, it employs 16 people, divided into two teams : the harvest team who collects the vegetables and the facility team who washes, cuts and wraps them to be sold. Thanks to them, each week, 500 to 800 kg of vegetables like carrots, brocolis, zucchinis, lettuces, … are sold !

In the farm, we met Huong, the project manager who takes care of everything. He explained that it is the only farm in Vietnam to have three organic labels : USDA Organic, European Union organic farming and the JAS which is the Japanese organic label.

Growing organic is challenging for several reasons

In Vietnam it’s easy to buy chemicals and on the other hand it’s complicated to find organic products to help fight the pests and weeds. Indeed, the law is a big obstacle as the farmers cannot use foreign products and the adequate products aren’t available in Vietnam. Furthermore, there are no organizations helping them to flourish and sustain, and the weather is very hot for crops.

More specifically in Da Lat, it’s really complicated to find farm workers as people prefer to work in the flowers fields which is more profitable.

An organic plantation requires a lot of hand-work, so more workers which brings the prices up. The prices of organic commodities are two times higher than conventionally grown food, which is too expensive for local people. Thus, the customers are restaurants, high quality supermarkets and hotels.

Today, Organik Da Lat is trying to prevent the costs from increasing by:

  • Having a small team who accomplishes the hand work
  • Limiting the surface of the farm to 3 to 4 hectares to be able to control the plants and pests
  • Sustaining a natural barrier surrounding the farm to protect the crops from the neighbours’ chemicals.

« Growing organic is a commitment to the environment, it’s not to make money », Huong

For the future, Huong wants to promote organic products and organic farming to people. He is already receiving visits from the university. For him, people need to see to change their mind. Future goals are also to grow more diversity, maybe with permaculture, and to export to Thailand and to Singapore. He hopes that in the future, Vietnamese agriculture will use fewer chemicals.