A New Business Model for Women in Ha Giang Province

The Embassy of Finland and the Women’s Union of Ha Giang province signed the project “Pilot model of caged “Chiem” fish raising, opening a new business model for poor women in the province.

Viet Lam commune -Vi Xuyen district and Tan Thanh commune - Bac Quang district are ranked among the poorest communes, according to the evaluation of the Program 135 of Ha Giang province with an average income per capital of 1,500,000 VND in 2004.


A majority of population in these two communes are ethnic people for example Dao, Tay, Nung, H’Mong, Bo Y… who are mainly poor farmers with low incomes. Their main income is gained from growing tea and fruit (orange and mandarin, rice and corn). In general, farmers here face a lot of difficulties, lacking food and having low income.


Flowing through these 2 communes, there are many rivers and streams where many valuable kinds of fish such as Chiem, Gam Xanh, Anh Vu, Lang live. These fish are exploited by all means such as fishing, net, explosion and electricity. Though average price for 1 kg of Chiem fish is among 120,000VND and 150,000 VND, it can’t meet the demand of restaurants in Ha Giang and it can rarely be seen in the market. The rareness and high price lead to intensive catching of these kinds of fish, ignoring State regulations stipulated in the aqua-law o­n the protection of water environment and aqua resources and therefore causing severe decrease in aqua resources.


Recently, few farmers have started raising caged-fish in the river and streams. However, in each commune, o­nly 1or 2 households raises caged-Chiem fish with limited knowledge and no technical assistance from the Government or mass organization. Due to lack of capital for equipment and technology investment, Chiem fish faces a lot of difficulties and is in a small scale. It is better “to keep” than to “raise” fish and the raisers will sell fish out when the price is high or when they need money.


In December 2005, the Project “Pilot model of caged Chiem fish raising” to improve the livelihood for ethnic community, esp. poor women in Vi Xuyen and Bac Quang commune, Ha Giang province” was signed between the Embassy of Finland and the Women’s Union of Ha Giang province with the total fund of 39,000 Euros, of which 35,000 Euro are sponsored by the Embassy of Finland and the rest are born by the Ha Giang Women’s Union and local beneficiaries including (labour, material etc) The Project will last for 18 months.


With the contribution of the Women’s Union of 2 districts and 2 project communes, up to 20 households are chosen to try the new model, most of which are Nung, Tay, Hoa households with strong support from husbands and villages/tribes. Project households are to attend meetings, technical trainings and join study tours in Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang to learn from their experience in caged-fish rising. Chiem breed are collected directly from credible local fishermen. Women are trained to raise earth-worm, making use of available bullshit for fish food. The project has had optimistic initial results, opening a new business model for the poor women in the locality.

Nguyen Thu Hien – VWU Ethnic & Religion Department
Translated by VWU Int’l Relations Department