These days, she is able to help them obtain top prices for their produce. Nguyen Thi Duong, who also goes by the name Mary Duong, is Director of the Golden Way Global Education Company and part of her work entails connecting Vietnamese coffee, pepper and fruit farmers with foreign buyers.
Born and raised in Saigon (currently Ho Chi Minh City), Duong gained her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Quebec in Montral. She then travelled to many countries around the world, learning about different cuisines and realizing how expensive the ingredients were compared to much cheaper Vietnamese produce of the same quality. Duong began thinking of bringing Vietnamese products to foreign markets by establishing Vietnamese goods supply chains.
During 10 years of working in the field of education consultancy, Duong met many people and gradually learned about trade promotion and the trade in goods between Vietnam and Canada, the US, Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asian countries.
In seeking to implement her idea of finding lucrative markets for Vietnam’s delicious fruit, she initially faced challenges, such as training farmers in product quality standards, traceability and connections between sellers and buyers in the context of linguistic, geographic and trade barriers.
Duong said she often travelled to mango, pomelo, mangosteen, coffee and pepper gardens in Dong Nai, Ninh Thuan, and Central Highlands and southwestern provinces, and persuaded farmers there to join her chains of produce supplies to foreign markets. She also brought foreign business delegations to those gardens and localities, showing them how produce was grown and getting them to sign purchase contracts.
To help more farmers directly sell agricultural products to foreign buyers and increase Vietnamese produce exports, Duong said she is scaling up the Vietnamese produce supply chain by calling for investment in raw material growing areas and advanced farming and cultivation technology.
A large number of farmers and cooperatives in the Central Highlands and central and southwestern regions have come to her for trade connectivity and promotion help. Hundreds of tonnes of produce are exported monthly to dozens of countries and territories with her assistance. Although she helps farmers sell directly to foreign consumers at good prices without earning a high commission, Duong said she is happy to expand their incomes and boost their well-being.
Along with exporting produce, in late 2020, Mary Duong opened her 1POUND store at 207 Vo Van Tan in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City to display and trade in high quality Vietnamese special products and import high quality products through traditional partners and customers. The store was designed to strengthen connections with long-term foreign partners, she said.