Cinnamon Cassia story – The story of Dao people in Van Yen mountain.
Base in North of Yen Bai province, the Van Yen commune has 139,000 ha. The forest area is 75%. The cinnamon trees grow in this mountain area since ancient Vietnamese.
(Dao girls are harvesting cinnamon cassia from Van Yen mountain)
More than 4000 years ago, people had traded cinnamon as herbal medical. The Dao people live in Van Yen, growing together with Cinnamon trees. Thus, Cinnamon tree is their friend. And now, it really helps Dao people by helping them to avoid poor and hungry!
The Dao people works hard, take care of cinnamon trees year by year. They have been sticking with cinnamon trees, processing, harvesting, store the cinnamon products.
Since 20 years ago, the India, Taiwan, China people came to Vietnam. They asked the Dao people to harvest cinnamon. The primal cinnamon product was: Split Cinnamon (Cassia). The farmers just remove the Cinnamon bark from tree, dried it by sun. And then split the cinnamon bark by a small knife. At that time, there were a few Government companies could do exporting cinnamon.
(Cinnamon Split-one of the first primal cinnamon product in Vietnam)
Before 2010, India was the main market of cinnamon from Vietnam. Indian importers always visited Vietnam in April/May then ordered cinnamon for whole year. They mostly booked Split Cinnamon, thin one, yellow color. Indian people called split cinnamon as Paper Dosa which is the very thin Indian bread.
The reason which Indian people require thin Cinnamon is that they used to import this product from Srilanka. The Cinnamon Ceylon from Srilanka is very thin, less spicy but very high price. However, Vietnam Cinnamon is very strong spicy, 3-6% oil content which is 3-4 times higher than Sirlanka Cinnamon. The most importance thing is Vietnam Cinnamon price is just half than Srilakna one. Thus, Indian people imported Cinnamon from Vietnam and replaced it with the one from Srilanka.
Split Cinnamon is very simple product, not value added. Hence, the farmers and exporters earn very less margin with this product. Fortunately, since 2015, Singapore business man visited Vietnam. They promoted the Cinnamon Stick (Cassia Vera AA) to their connections. Not only India but also other countries such as: USA, EU, Middle East countries now know about Vietnam Cinnamon. The world is now considered new vision with Vietnam Cinnamon. More and more importers from difference countries have been visiting Vietnam. They order Cinnamon Stick (Cassia Vera), Broken Cinnamon (Broken Cassia KABC, KBBC), Cinnamon Powder. As a result, there are more and more foods processing company on this mountain area. In order to upgrade quality, quantity of Cinnamon Cassia.
(Cassia Vera, Cassia Broken, Cinnamon Powder)
Due to demand of market, the Dao people are now learning more and more. Their skills are upgraded. Not only split the cinnamon but also remove the skin, roll the cinnamon. Furthermore, they also make Cinnamon Ramullus for herbal producers from Korea, Taiwan. Nowadays, there are 12 high equipped factories invest in Yen Bai province. They train Dao people to make Cinnamon Square Cut, Cinnamon Broken cleaned, Cinnamon Powder all types of oil content, Cinnamon Oil.
(Cinnamon Oil, Cinnamon Square Cut, Cinnamon Ramullus)
Every year, the Van Yen commune grows new 1500-1600 ha of cinnamon. Hence, total growing area is 40,000 ha and now Van Yen becomes the biggest Cinnamon area in Vietnam.
There is nothing to waste in a Cinnamon tree. Cinnamon bark used for making Cinnamon Split, Cinnamon Stick. Cinnamon leaves used for extracting Cinnamon Oil. Cinnamon wood uses for building construction!
As the matter of fact, Cinnamon tree is not only friend but also the fountain of richness for Dao people.