A Saviour Who Brings Sugar to the Sugarcane Fields

Chairman of Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation (Lasuco), Labor Hero Le Van Tam, has been regarded by Thanh Hoa farmers as a close friend of agriculture. After more than 30 years of running his business, Tam has led Lasuco as a pioneer in agricultural development in Thanh Hoa - the home of sugarcane.

A hero of the sugar industry

As a university graduate, Tam has had an extensive career in the agriculture sector. He held prominent roles such as Deputy Director of the Agriculture Department of Thanh Hoa province and head of the Thanh Hoa Sugarcane Zone Construction Management Board. In 1988, at the age of 52, he assumed the position of Deputy General Director at Sugarcane and Sugar Corporation No.1 Joint Stock Company (Vinasugar 1) and also served as the Director of Lam Son Sugar Factory. Throughout his career, Tam has demonstrated his expertise and leadership in the agriculture industry.

Although facing the challenges of running a business, Tam, who has long been passionate about enhancing the agriculture sector in the province, viewed it as an opportunity to fulfill his aspirations. Despite financial limitations and a lack of sales channels that almost pushed his factory to the point of insolvency, Tam remained undeterred. He personally visited every commune and village in the province, inspiring and motivating farmers to cultivate sugarcane, which he believed had the potential to significantly improve the livelihoods of the local populace.

Labor hero Le Van Tam, Chairman of Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation (Lasuco). Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

This image shows an overview of Lam Son high-tech agricultural park. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Tam introduces new sugarcane varieties to foreign experts. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

A corner of Lam Son sugarcane factory

A corner of Lam Son sugarcane factory, where Le Van Tam has worked his whole career. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Lasuco Sugarcane

Le Van Tam takes great pride in Lasuco’s sugarcane, which has established itself as a reputable brand in the market.

Le Van Tam presents Professor Erik Rom Baut (Belgium) with Lasuco’s new projects focused on agricultural development and sustainable tourism.
Photo by Tran Thanh Giang

For the past 10 years, Tam has worked with scientists, prestigious universities, local communities, and farmers to drive the development of sugarcane cultivation and sugar production. In addition, Tam has also founded the Lam Son Sugar Association, which serves as a platform for connecting farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs in this industry.

Tam led a program to revive Lam Son sugarcane and sugar which developed hi-tech farming of sugarcane with a yield from 80 tons to 120 tons/ha. The program targeted an output of 200,000 tons of sugar by 2020 to meet domestic and export needs.

This was Vietnam’s first model of economic cooperation between the state, farmers, and intellectuals, which resulted in the rapid growth of the Lam Son factory. Over the course of 16 years as a joint stock company (2000-2016), Lasuco has become a prominent sugar producer with a total asset value of 2,367 billion dong, which is 3.2 times the level in 2000 and 64.8 times that of 1990.

When the Prime Minister approved the construction of Sugar Factory II with a total investment of over 451 billion dong, Tam increased his company’s capacity to 6,500 tons per year, which is 2.6 times the previous capacity.

Founded in 2008, Lasuco made history by becoming one of the first companies to offer preferential shares to sugarcane growers. This innovative approach was aimed at incentivizing farmers to actively participate in the growth and development of the sugarcane industry.

The company has invested almost 10 trillion dong to assist farmers in 10 mountainous districts of Thanh Hoa in reclaiming over 10,000 hectares to establish an intensive sugarcane farming zone.

A Pioneer in Agriculture

In addition to sugar production, Le Van Tam has expanded Lasuco’s investment in high quality agriculture, with a focus on developing agricultural products that offer health benefits.

Lasuco has invested 200 billion dong to establish the Lam Son hi-tech agricultural zone. This state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to researching and rapidly implementing technological advancements in the production of various crops, including sugarcane varieties, food crops, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, and bonsai. The Lam Son hi-tech agricultural center has successfully marketed high-yield queen melons, seedless oranges, and orchids. It stands as a leading farming production base in Vietnam.

With Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during his visit to Lam Son hi-tech agriculture center. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

The Lam Son High Tech Agriculture Research & Development Joint Stock Company’s modern building. Photo credit: Truong Ba Vinh

Le Van Tam and international experts at the workshop “Bamboo and solar power for sustainable tourism”

Le Van Tam presenting the company’s products to agriculture industry leaders. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Lasuco’s research center for high quality crop varieties. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Lasuco's high quality melon planting model
Lasuco’s high quality melon planting model has created many jobs for locals. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

We had the pleasure of meeting Tam during a workshop on bamboo and solar power for sustainable tourism in Hanoi. Tam shared with us his involvement in the Thanh Tam Bamboo Eco park, which is considered the largest eco-community in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The park was constructed at a cost of 1.2 trillion Vietnamese dong. Additionally, we learned about Lasuco’s innovative use of technology in producing sustainable and environmentally friendly bamboo, positioning it as a new industry in Vietnam.

Le Van Tam, a renowned innovator, has been recognized for his achievements with the prestigious title of Labor Hero during the period of doi moi (renewal) by the government. Additionally, his exceptional contributions as a talented businessman, particularly in the field of agricultural production, have earned him further recognition from Thanh Hoa province. With numerous successful scientific research projects under his belt, Le Van Tam continues to make significant contributions to the agricultural sector.

This year, Lasuco is proud to commemorate its 40th anniversary, marking a significant milestone in the distinguished career of Le Van Tam. Our goal is to establish Lasuco as a top-tier agricultural corporation in Vietnam, recognized globally for our renowned brand.

Labor hero Le Van Tam received many state awards, including Labor Medals of First, Second and Third Classes (1994, 2003, 2011, 2015); Third-class Resistance Medal awarded by the President (1991); the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Merit (1998, 2005, 2015). He was a deputy to the National Assembly during the VIIIth, IXth and Xth tenures.

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Tran Thanh Giang and Truong Ba Vinh