What do rural youth want? Luong Van Chuyen

In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.

Name: Luong Van Chuyen
Age:    30
Location:  Quang Province, Vietnam

In this interview, Chloé Desjonquères, 24, a development studies student from France speaks with Luong Van Chuyen, a tea cultivator from Viet nam. Chuyen, 30, is a young tea cultivator. He is married with two children and lives with his parents in a remote village in Tuyên Quang Province that is only accessible via motorbike.

Below is their conversation -

Q: What is your name, age, and where do you come from?

“My name is Luong Van Chuyen. I am 30 years old and I come from Tan Thuong village, Luong Thien commune, in the Son Duong district of Tuyên Quang province, in Viet nam. My father is the head of the household and I live with him and my family.”

Q: Can you describe what you do to earn a living?

“My family works in cultivation of tea and forestry, but mainly in tea.”

Q: How did you get into this type of work?

“I went to Thai Nguyen to study tea cultivation and then I saw the importance of tea, and what it brings to a household in terms of income, so I decided to become a tea cultivator.”

Q: What are some of the main challenges you face living in a rural community?

“The diseases and insects on our plantation are a big problem. There are more and more of them. Additionally, the road system is poor, making it difficult to bring the tea to the market, especially when the weather is not good.”

Q: How did you overcome these challenges?

“We try to go out of the village more often and invite more traders to come to the village to buy our output.”

Q: What support did you receive?

“Our cooperative group got the support from organizations supported by IFAD, and we received machinery to process the tea we produce.”

Q: What issues concern you the most as a young person?

“The demand for and consumption of tea, and the difficult road system. We process tea, but we are in a remote area with limited transportation and bad infrastructure.”

Q: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for young people?

“I think in rural areas it is agriculture and forestry production. Tea cultivation is a good opportunity because it helps us to increase our income. I think young people can focus on tea plantation but they need the support of the government in terms of machinery and technology support.”

Q: Some young people may have a negative view of farming, rural areas, and agriculture. What are your thoughts?

“Maybe some people view it negatively, but they should go and explore rural farms that are successful in what they are producing. So that they can learn and exchange the experience. They should find the ways to develop their plantation and agricultural production based on successful models.”

Q: What do you think would make rural life attractive to young people?

“If they have land, young people should stay in their motherland, and find the crop that is most suitable to the soil structure so they can make the best of their land.”

Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in life so far?

“I studied with other people from Viet nam who work in tea production when I got to visit Thai Nguyen, and I have met people who are successful in their lives thanks to tea production and tea processing. So that is a big lesson for me because it gives me the hope that I can also have a better income thanks to tea cultivation.

Q: Who inspires you in your life?

A: The support from the government, and also my friends and relatives who support me and my tea production are all inspiration to me.

Q:Is there a particular person who is a role model for you?

A: I think of the successful tea farmers I have met in Thai Nguyen, especially the well-educated younger farmers. They give me hope that I can also deal well with my plantation so I can have a higher-value tea and get a better price for my production.

Q: What advice would you give to other young people who want to do what you are doing?

A: If you would like to start cultivating tea, you should focus on your production and learn from others so you can know how to best develop your tea plantation.

Q: What do you need to help improve your yields?

A: I would like to produce tea that meets the safe food standards, so we can have a higher and more stable price. If someone could create more favorable conditions for our production, with a better road and support with food safety, we could easily sell our production.

Q: What are your dreams and plants for the future?

A: My dream is that the agro-forestry production in remote areas improves the income of farmers, so that we can invest more into it more and so that we can be as equal and as developed as richer areas of Vietnam.