Nguyen Thi Hong Thuong and a ginseng root that sold for 200 million VND. (Photo

Quang Nam (VNA) - Nguyen Thi Hong Thuong, 33, runs a large ginseng garden with more than 600 plants and many other traditional herbal medicine plants in Tra Cang commune in Nam Tra My district in the central province of Quang Nam.

Local residents are impressed by the effort she puts into her work. Thuong had to leave school when she finished grade eight, and went to HCM City to work as a domestic helper. She also worked in industrial zones. However, her low earnings did little to improve her family’s lifestyle.

When she was 22 years old, she returned to her hometown in Quang Nam Province and set up a business in the Nam Tra My mountain area.

At first, Thuong opened a small grocery shop. Then several residents asked her to help them sell Ngoc Linh ginseng they found growing in the forest.

Ngoc Linh ginseng is a prized herb and the price keeps rising. Many residents go to the forest searching for it.

However, Thuong was worried that the ginseng would be over-exploited and wondered about planting the valuable plant to preserve it.

Thuong planted 50 ginseng bushes in 2015. However, most were eaten by crickets in just one night. “I cried a lot because all of my capital was invested in it,” she said to the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

Thuong covered the remaining bushes to prevent them, read more documents and met people with more experience in planting ginseng.

She now grows 600 thriving Ngoc Linh ginseng bushes and many other traditional herbal plants.

“Everyone knows ginseng’s value, but if we exploit it without protection, the plant will become extinct,” she said.

“I wanted to set up a farm to protect the valuable plant, but preservation needs the co-operation of the whole community,” said Thuong.

Thuong occasionally buys wild ginseng found by locals. In June, 2016, Ho Van Hanh, who lives in Tra Linh commune, offered Huong a 50 gramme piece of wild ginseng that he had dug up. He wanted 1 million VND (40 USD).

But the experienced Thuong told Hanh that his piece of ginseng came from a huge plant and told him to search for it.

Hanh returned to the place where he had found the ginseng and dug up a root weighing nearly one kilogramme, which he sold for 200 million VND (8,800 USD). Not only Hanh, but also other residents admired Thuong for her knowledge.

Ho Quang Buu, Chairman of the Nam Tra My district People’s Committee, told the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that Thuong was a creative young woman, adding that her idea of developing Ngoc Linh ginseng farms and traditional herbs was wonderful.-VNA