A mission to protect farmers and workers

Friday, Jul 25, 2014 09:16

General Director of Lam Thao Fertilizers and Chemicals Joint Stock Company Nguyen Duy Khuyen at the company's second-class labor medal reception ceremory.— VNS Photo

HA NOI — For many of those who work for Lam Thao Fertilizers and Chemicals Joint Stock Company, General Director Nguyen Duy Khuyen is more than a leader or a businessman.

He is like a big brother, an inspirational role model, who has worked earnestly to motivate workers and staff of the company toward a common goal: ensuring that domestic fertilisers can thrive in the market and support the nation's farmers.

Serving in this post since 2010, Khuyen has maintained the company's leading position in the market despite the economic slowdown and stiff competition from imported fertilisers. Before that, he served in various positions within the company.

Born in a poor area of Vinh Phuc Province in 1954, the year of the historical event Dien Bien Phu, Khuyen said he always believed that surviving and succeeding in the business is similar to fighting in a war.

To him that meant not just being resilient but also adaptive to new challenges, and being fully aware that only hard work can pay off.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam would need about 11 million tonnes of fertilisers this year, including 2.2 million tonnes of urea fertiliser, 900,000 tonnes of DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) fertiliser and 4 million tonnes of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) fertiliser.

Lam Thao Company produces 50 types of fertilisers and chemicals.

Annual production reaches 830,000 tonnes of superphosphate, 750,000 tonnes of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) fertiliser and 200,000 tonnes of fused phosphate.

The company has gained the trust of farmers by helping them to increase their productivity and improve their income.

Last year, it posted earnings before tax of VND595 billion (US$28.1 million), contributing more than VND200 billion to the State budget. The company has provided a stable average income of about VND10 million ($500) to more than 3,000 people.

However, no success comes easy.

Having been in the business for quite some time, Khuyen said Lam Thao still has to face fierce competition from imported fertilisers and competitors, and individuals engaged in producing fake fertilisers.

"There have been various occasions in the past when our products have been stockpiled, affecting our production, revenues and the lives of workers. We knew we had to adapt and stay ahead," he said.

Many solutions were brought on the table, one of which was improving the supply chain that could take fertilisers directly to the farmers.

"I worked with the staff and other management officers in the company to create distribution channels that could take our products to the farmers in a most efficient manner," he said.

Another solution has been to cooperate and work closely with scientists.

Since 2000, the company has been cooperating with the Institute of Agricultural Science and other organisations on researching and diversifying the type of fertilisers that can maximise production and be suitable for certain type of plants and regions.

He believes that the success of the company is not just about profits but also about helping farmers to achieve further potential.

The company also organises regular meetings, working with local farmer associations and television channels to support farmers on technology transfers and any other concerns they may have related to the use of fertilisers.

To stay competitive, the company has been focusing on maximising the use of domestic ingredients in producing fertilisers, such as the use of apatite ore from Lao Cai, Thanh Hoa secpentin, ore Phu Tho.

Khuyen said the management always values and seeks ideas from every member of the company, who can contribute to the company's efforts in boosting technology, cutting down production cost and environmental pollution.

"We are very open-minded to any ideas. Anyone in any part of the company can suggest an idea.

If their ideas are valuable, we will treat them equally whether it comes from a worker, officer, engineer or manager," he said.

The company has an annual competition to seek innovative ideas and projects. Last year, 207 ideas and project of 548 staff members were recognised by the company, and 11 of them received recognition from the Viet Nam Labour Federation.

Besides, Khuyen said, the key to encouraging the staff to work harder is also to support them in their lives.

That means improving their working environment, providing them with healthcare support, labour protection, public services and entertainment programmes like sports or musical events to increase their unity.

Since 2008, the company has donated more than VND12 billion towards charity and General Director Khuyen has also received various awards from the Government, the Party and other organizations.

Still much more needs to be done.

The plan in 2014 is to continue their efforts in expanding the company's storage area, improving production capacity, better environment protection while cutting production cost.

The company has invested in distribution, including 100 first-grade agents and thousands of retail outlets nationwide, which have helped the company spread to remote areas.

In an interview, Khuyen said he believed it was essential to work with farmers' association, youth unions and various grassroots organisations who could educate farmers about fake fertilisers.

Now, only certified stores can sell products of Lam Thao.

One of the things that Khuyen hoped was for Government to increase fines for those who produce fake fertilisers and protect the rights of farmers in case they are cheated into buying them.

Since 1959, Lam Thao Fertilizers and Chemicals Joint Stock Company has remained the leader in the fertiliser sector.

Khuyen vows to continue the development with his 3,000 plus staff in a mission that would help the nation's farmers enjoy bumper crops in the years to come, for a sustainable future./.

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