In the past, besides farming, I had a habit of catching crabs and snails in the field. Realizing that the selling price of crabs and snails is quite high, I had the idea of raising them myself. –Mr. Khiem
Mr. Khiem thought of a creative way to turn a skill learned in childhood into a lucrative business, but how could he get started without money and business knowledge?
Mr. Khiem’s wife is a member of the local Women’s Union. Because of our commitment to developing Women’s ability to earn an income, when YWAM Mercy offered family business training in their area, Women’s Union members were especially encouraged to attend, which his wife did.
When she told him about the opportunity to receive a loan with reasonable terms right in their own village, he asked for help in writing a production plan so they could apply for startup capital. A group from the community known as an “Opportunity Team” determines who will receive loans from funds provided by YWAM Mercy Vietnam’s generous donors. Through this group, YWAM Mercy also provides training and business development support like the help Mr. Khiem received.
After being approved for a loan of 20 million VND (about US$865) Khiem took out a 30 year lease on a piece of land and rented the machines needed to dig out a pond suitable for raising crabs and snails.
ABOVE: Land before pond was dug BELOW: Land after pond was dug
Snail and crab farming as a business is quite a new idea in Luc Nam. Crabs and snails are a delicacy, and they sell for quite a good price all year round, promising a good regular income for a household like Mr. Khiem’s. Every 4 or 5 months a new harvest can be collected.
Mr. Khiem used the practical experience he learned while catching crabs and snails in the wild and applied it to his farm. He also went online to consult with others and to read instructional materials on the raising of crabs and snails. Every day, he and his wife go to the market to pick up vegetables and fruits that can’t be sold and bring them back to feed the crab and snails. Using market waste (like cassava leaves, for example) instead of purchased feed, makes his costs quite low, which is a huge competitive advantage. On the bank of the pond, he has also planted vegetables and vines which help the crab and snails to grow larger and healthier.
In the first year, Mr. Khiem focused on raising small crabs and snails so that he could provide his own “seed” animals for his farm. He is willing to share experience as well as provide these starter crabs or snails for neighbors if they want to follow his lead.
Mr. Khiem is one of the few farmers in his area that dared to borrowed money to invest in developing a new agricultural model at this uncertain time. He has expanded the land area he is using ten times, to one acre, in this second year. By the end of 2021, he expects his profit will have almost tripled as well to 120 million VND (about US$5200).
My family wishes to continue to borrow capital from the [YWAM Mercy] project to further develop our farm. The first year I did not borrow much because I still had to wait for the grass to grow better so that the crabs could reproduce better. But by this year, my model has proved ready for expansion.