VinaSamex was established in 2012. It sources cinnamon, star anise and other spices from farmers in Lang Son and Yen Bai provinces in Northern Viet Nam. It processes and exports them
to high-end export markets such as the EU, USA and Japan. The company focuses on high quality products meeting international certifications and does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. It applies high international standards such as HACCP, Organic, and Fair Trade.
Most of the farmers in the northern mountainous region of Viet Nam are poor and do not have a stable income. Many of these areas have the poorest and hardest reached communities in Viet Nam, with large percentage of the population being from ethnic minorities groups. The farmers usually sell their products to the middlemen who will in turn sell to the Chinese market with high price fluctuation or price pressure, leaving little margins for the farmers. To ensure high quality products, the company follows high quality requirements in all stages of production, preservation, and transportation of the spices and herbs. The company provides (against payment from the famers) the seeds, training in farming technique, harvesting and preservation tools, labour safety tools, packages to ensure safety, production models, ensures quality control to conform to quality standards of international certifications, and commits to buy from the farmers 100 percent of their products.
The company is working directly with 1,409 households (contract farmers), most of them (60 per cent) are poor and vulnerable and around 60-80 per cent of the persons engaged are women. Nearly all income beneficiaries of the company are from ethnic minority groups. With the new factories, the company expects to reach additional 1,500 farmers by 2023, expanding its total reach to nearly 3,000 farmers. Farmers working with Vinasamex can earn VND 4-5 million per month on average (or $7 a day), which is relatively low. However, the company is paying about 10 per cent more than farmers get from the middlemen in local markets.