Binh Lu villagers began making cassava vermicelli in the early 1970s, at first out of nostalgia for their original homeland in Thai Binh province and to test whether cassava trees could thrive in the local soil. Most of them migrated here from Thai Binh to build a new economic zone.

Luckily, cassava grown in Binh Lu turned out to be very starchy, which is good for making transparent, flexible, long vermicelli.

But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that business began to flourish and Binh Lu vermicelli became well-known in the market. Since then cassava has been a key crop driving the locality’s rapid poverty reduction.

Tran Thi Luot, a vermicelli producer in Thong Nhat hamlet, says that, thanks to investment in machines and modern production technology, both the quality and the volume of Binh Lu vermicelli has steadily increased.

“People here have long been dependant on vermicelli, which only recently has its brand successfully promoted. Our lives have improved and we now live in more spacious houses. Our children have plenty of food and can attend school. Thanks to a stable market at 2 dollars a kilo, my family has been able to sell more than 10 tons of vermicelli this season,” said Luot.

The village currently has more than 300 households engaged in growing cassava, 10 facilities producing cassava flour, and 50 households producing vermicelli, selling 100 tons of vermicelli every year. Some households earn thousands of dollars annually. Binh Lu vermicelli is sold nationwide as a specialty agricultural product of Lai Chau province.

Some households hire seasonal labor to keep up with demand, which often doubles or triples during Tet, the Lunar New Year season.

Nguyen Xuan Truong, a local resident, said, “Our product has been selling well, so we’re much better off. On a sunny day, my family produces between 1 and 1.5 quintals. Since the beginning of this season, we have produced 6.5 tons of vermicelli.”

To help the vermicelli business grow, a 50-hectare cassava growing area has been planned and locals have been called on to make sure that their planting, production, and processing conform to food safety and hygiene standards. The village administration has stepped up advertising and promotion to attract more investors.

Tran Thi Nhan, chief of Thong Nhat hamlet, noted, “Making vermicelli all year round is giving Thong Nhat residents stable incomes and better lives.”