Nguyen Tuyet Minh

Hanoi-based social enterprise, Betterday, sells anything from organic green tea to coffee, natural beauty products and organic spices. Owner Nguyen Tuyet Minh explains how her business is able to focus on fair trade and organic produce, a rarity in Vietnam. Photo by David Harris

Before Betterday… I worked for development projects in the northern part of Vietnam to help farmers produce safe and good-quality products.

 

I started Betterday because... development projects only have a short time frame and cannot support and work together with farmers over the long-term. So we decided to open our own company to work closely and long-term with ethnic minority farmers who live in remote areas.

 

Starting a business is… a big challenge. Before we started our business, we made a business plan and we thought that it would not be so hard. But when you start, it’s harder than you expected. It’s like a type of big school without any teachers — you have to learn yourself every day from real life. Every day is your exam. On the other hand, it also makes you become more creative, more patient and sometimes more tough.

 

We teach farmers… to grow and produce organic or safe products and develop their teamwork and management skills. After that we buy their products to sell in the local and international market.

 

Farmers in Vietnam… are hardworking. Especially the farmers our company works with. They are also honest and friendly.

 

We work mostly with… ethnic minority people. So when we work with them we can learn about their culture, which is very different from [the majority Kinh culture], even though we are in the same country.

 

Fair trade food in Vietnam is... still not common. Our company is one of the first companies doing fair trade. We face a lot of difficulties, such as how to support farmers to work well as a group, and keeping good records of their production. It is also difficult fulfilling the complex requirements of the fair trade system.

 

If I could change one thing in the world, I'd... stop people using chemicals in food production, so that everyone could stay healthy.

 

My biggest regret is... that my hands are too small to give a hand to all the people who need help.

 

My dream is... to have a green world.

 

Life... is sometimes hard, sometimes smooth, but for me I think it’s fair.

 

Betterday is at 114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi or online at betterday.com.vn

 

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