The mountainous region of Sa Pa in northern Vietnam is an invaluable storehouse of medicinal plants - many of which have been used for centuries by the local population. Increasingly, however, many of these medicinal plant species are becoming rarer through unsustainable over-harvesting for both a growing population that relies on local medicines, and for trade with outside communities.


Sa Pa Essentials (SPE) works with local farmers belonging to the Sa Pa Indigenous Medicinal Plants Association (SIMPA) to organically cultivate select medicinal plants, part process these plants and develop high quality natural products suitable for both national and international markets.


SPE works on a fair trade basis to guarantee a fair income for the farmers cultivating these plants. Royalty payments on each and every item bought ensures that YOUR money goes directly to the Sa Pa community for social and environmental development activities.

In 2007, SPE was awarded a Seed Award. This annual award is administered by the Seed Initiative (Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development) which aims to ‘inspire, support and research exceptional, entrepreneurial, nascent, multi-stakeholder partnerships for locally-led sustainable development.’ Also in 2007, Sa Pa Essentials was nominated as a finalist in the BBC World Challenge Awards 2007. The World Challenge 2007 is a global competition that seeks out projects and businesses that not only make a profit, but also put something back into the community. The competition is all about rewarding individuals or groups that truly make a difference through enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level.

Watch a Video of the project



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