34-year-old, Phan Thanh Sang, has created new career paths for people in Ninh Thuan Province, on the south-central coast of Vietnam. The mountainous area of land he calls his own is half-covered by forest, which makes cultivation challenging. In addition, the province is considered one of the most arid areas in Vietnam, experiencing several droughts per year, making it far from the best place to start an orchid farm.
A young local farmer has created a thriving orchid business in one of the driest provinces in Vietnam.
However, despite the conditions, Sang has not been discouraged from investing in the area and making a change.
Sang’s business – YSA Orchid Farm – currently consists of three high-tech farms with a total land area of more than 10 hectares, and is valued at VND70 billion (US$3 million).
Two of the farms are located in Lam Dong Province, however, the most notable one is in Ninh Thuan.
“I developed the orchid plantation in Ninh Thuan to create new jobs for people in the area. Each area has its own advantages. I just wanted to provide people there with a new approach, new opportunities,” the pioneer explained.
In Ninh Thuan, Sang chose to plant moth orchids.
Every nine to 12 months, his orchids are taken to Da Lat City in Lam Dong, in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, where it is cold enough for orchids to flourish.
In 2006, when Sang was still a university student, he bought a small orchid garden and began gaining experience.
Upon his graduation from the agriculture faculty of Da Lat University, Sang borrowed VND200 million (US$8,780) from banks to fund his ambitious startup.
He began by investing in a laboratory to breed new orchids.
“I took it [the business] step by step, all by myself so as to develop sustainably. The places where I grew the flowers, I allowed people to come and learn,” the YSA Orchid Farm owner said.
“If one takes the right path, has the right approach, and is determined and hardworking, they will succeed. It is not about sitting around and waiting for projects to come to you.”
Annually, YSA Orchid Farm provides the market with thousands of orchids and has annual revenue of over VND20 billion (US$878,000), with more than 60 employees.
As a delegate of the Da Lat Flower Association, Sang was honored to participate in the Eleventh National Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Congress that began on December 10 in Hanoi.
But Sang was not there just as a delegate.
Sang had arrived in Hanoi a few days in advance along with 600 moth orchid flower pots, 1,000 branches of monkara orchids and other decorations representative of Ninh Thuan to decorate the event.
Sang has become well-known for his innovative and pioneering approach. Heeding Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s suggestion that “every young person is a startup warrior,” Sang is one of those living up to the idea, and even though his success is already undeniable, the young founder has more goals.
“I have a successful startup, but I still have to reach out to foreign countries, or at least spread the startup spirit to the local community so that other people can accomplish what I have,” he said.