Residents in Van Yen district, the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai, have enjoyed substantially improved livelihood thanks to cinnamon cultivation.
|Local farmers harvest cinnamon. (Photo: VNA)|
Cinnamon is a very popular spice not only in Vietnam but also around the world. It is mainly extracted from the bark of the stem and branch. Essential oil is extracted by steam distillation.
Cinnamon is used to treat cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive symptoms.
In the cosmetic industry, it can be used to make perfumes and lotions. Besides, it is also used as a spice in food processing, can help stimulate digestion, and is used as a flavoring in many fields of production.
With its characteristic aroma and beautiful colour, cinnamon is also used in interior decoration, furniture making, and household appliances.
With the largest area under the tree and output in the country, Van Yen district is known as the capital of cinnamon in Vietnam.
As one of the “four treasures of oriental medicine”, an important cosmetic ingredient, and an indispensable spice for many dishes, Van Yen cinnamon is considered the best variety in Vietnam. It has the second highest essential oil content in Vietnam, after the Tra My cinnamon.
|Drying cinnamon in Yen Bai province. (Photo: VNA)|
Since ancient times, cinnamon has been planted by the local Dao ethnic minority people. The people of the group believe that when children reach working age, boy and girl alike, their parents will guide them on how to grow and care for cinnamon. At the age of 15, parents will let their children take care of and harvest a part of their cinnamon growing area.
Thanks to hard work, diligence and the experience of growing cinnamon handed down from their ancestors, young people in the locality have a certain amount of assets when they get married. However, in the past, the harvested cinnamon bark was mainly used by families as gifts for relatives or sold to traders at low prices, so no one considered it the main source of income.
In recent years, cinnamon has become a key crop with high value as it is a precious raw material for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and handicraft industries. People here consider cinnamon as a “gift from heaven”.
Farmers start harvesting cinnamon in August to provide raw materials for essential oil factories and distilleries. The bark, wood, leaves, and roots of cinnamon are all valuable, so the plant is considered a multi-benefit crop with a high economic value. Prices of cinnamon products in the market are relatively stable.
|A farmer peels the bark of cinnamon. (Photo: VNA)|
Nearly 50,000 ha of land in Van Yen is currently under cinnamon. Thanks to local climate and soil conditions being suitable for the cultivation, the district exports about 6,000 tonnes of dried cinnamon bark. It produces about 63,000 tonnes of cinnamon leaves, 300 tonnes of essential oil, and nearly 51,000 cu.m of wood per year.
Cinnamon can be barked when the trees reach the age of five. The older the trees grow, the higher the profit they can generate.
Thanks to its profitability, cinnamon is plant in 27 communes across Van Yen. It has become the district’s main crop and brings in over 700 billion VND (30.9 million USD) for local farmers per year. The annual per capita income stands at around 4 million VND.
In 2011, the Van Yen cinnamon was granted geographical indication protection by the National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The specialty is one of the 39 Vietnamese commodities entitled to protection in the European Union under the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
A must-try specialty of Van Chan District in the northern province of Yen Bai in autumn is cốm (young sticky rice) that are made of Tu Le glutinous rice grown in the valley.