Good Morning Vietnam
- Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 20:29
This past Friday, we took full advantage of what time we had left in Vietnam to explore the culture and grow as agriculturalists. The Ba Huan egg processing plant was our primary tour and focus for the day. To our surprise the company was owned and operated by a female. All of the previous operations had male leaders. The plant was one of the first in Vietnam to invest in poultry and egg processing. The meeting room was filled with pictures of company members and certificates, which showed a lot of pride.
We began the visit with an introductory video of the company, which included the groundbreaking ceremony for the operation's second location which was just this May. Although the operation is almost completely vertically integrated, 70% poultry/egg production is contracted out to about 200 farms. Approximately 400 million eggs per year come through the plant and supply a majority of the eggs available in the Vietnam supermarkets.
After the tour we learned a lot of question we were able to ask. In 2003 there was a Bird Flu outbreak which caused drastic drawbacks for the entire industry. In response, the government now supports efforts to prevent and maintain disease control. Processed eggs are one of ten products in Vietnam that receives subsidy-like support from the government. Through learning from experience, developing markets, and enabling trade, the company has seen opportunities in the egg processing business grow into a very successful operation. The owner expressed her enthusiasm for our interest in Vietnamese agriculture and hoped for more Americans to invest in their markets.
After this tour, the group embarked on a historical journey to the 1960's and the tragic, war-stricken events that shaped Vietnam, as well as America, in that time period and beyond. Our first stop on this journey was at the Cu Chi tunnel complex, which was an extensive system of underground tunnels used by the Cu Chi people during the War.
The day ended with dinner on the rooftop of the Rex Hotel, which was a popular hang-out spot for American troops during the war. With a Western menu available, the popular meal of the evening included hamburger and French fries.
Today we expanded our horizons in international agriculture and culture. Women leadership at the egg processing facility initially surprised us, but the effects of the war has made women leadership commonplace in Vietnam. Our cultural experiences for the day gave us a new set of eyes to view the tragedy of the war.