A hero who brings sweet crop to the land of sugarcane

Chairman of Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation (Lasuco), Labor Hero Le Van Tam, has been regarded by Thanh Hoa farmers as a close friend of agriculture. After more than 30 years of running his business, Tam has led Lasuco as a pioneer in agricultural development in Thanh Hoa - the home of sugarcane.
A hero of the sugar industry

As a university graduate, Tam worked for many years in the agriculture sector. He used to be deputy director of the Agriculture Department of Thanh Hoa province, and head of Thanh Hoa Sugarcane Zone Construction Management Board. In 1988 when he was 52, he became Deputy General Director of Sugarcane and Sugar Corporation No.1 Joint Stock Company (Vinasugar 1) cum Director of Lam Son Sugar Factory.

Though running a business was challenging, Tam, who has for years had major concerns on how to improve the province’s agriculture, saw it as an opportunity to realize his dream. Lack of capital and sale outlets, which once drove his factory to the brink of bankruptcy, did not discourage Tam. He went to every commune and village in the province to encourage farmers to grow sugarcane, which, he believed, would “change the life” of the people here. 

Labor hero Le Van Tam, Chairman of Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation (Lasuco). Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Overview of Lam Son high-tech agricultural park. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Tam introduces new sugarcane varieties to foreign experts. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

A corner of Lam Son sugarcane factory, where Le Van Tam has worked his whole career. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Le Van Tam is proud of Lasuco’s sugarcane which has become a prestigious brand in the market. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Le Van Tam introduces to Prof. Erik Rom Baut (Belgium) Lasuco’s new projects on agricultural development associated with sustainable tourism.
Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

For 10 consecutive years, Tam collaborated with scientists, prestigious universities, localities and farmers to develop sugarcane growing and sugar production and establish the Lam Son Sugar Association, which helps connect farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs.

Tam led a program to revive Lam Son sugarcane and sugar which developed hi-tech farming of sugarcane with a yield from 80 tons to 120 tons/ha. The program targeted an output of 200,000 tons of sugar by 2020 to meet domestic and export needs.
This was Vietnam’s first model of economic cooperation between the state, farmers and intellectuals, which led to vigorous growth of the Lam Son factory. After 16 years being a joint stock company (2000 - 2016), Lasuco became a leading sugar producer with a total asset value of 2,367 billion dong, 3.2 times the level of 2000, and 64.8 that of 1990.

When the Prime Minister approved the construction of Sugar Factory II with a total investment of over 451 billion dong, Tam raised his company’s capacity to 6,500 tons per year, 2.6 times the previous one.

Being listed on the stock exchange in 2008, Lasuco was a pioneer in selling preferential shares to sugarcane growers as a way to encourage farmers to be a part of sugarcane growing.

The company has invested nearly 10 trillion dong to help farmers in 10 mountainous districts of Thanh Hoa reclaim more than 10,000 hectares to build an intensive sugarcane farming zone.

A pioneer in agriculture 

In addition to sugar production, Le Van Tam has expanded Lasuco’s investment in high quality agriculture, focusing on developing agricultural products with health benefits.

Lasuco has built Lam Son hi-tech agricultural zone with an investment of 200 billion dong to research and quickly transfer technilogical advances to the production of sugarcane varieties, food crops, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and bonsai. Lam Son hi-tech agricultural center has marketed high-yield queen melons and seedless oranges, and orchids. The center is a state-of-the-art farming production base in Vietnam.

With Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during his visit to Lam Son hi-tech agriculture center. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

The modern building of Lam Son High Tech Agriculture Research & Development Joint Stock Company. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Le Van Tam and international experts at the workshop “Bamboo and solar power for sustainable tourism”. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Le Van Tam introduces the company's products to agriculture leaders. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Lasuco’s research center for high quality crop varieties. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

Lasuco’s high quality melon planting model has created many jobs for locals. Photo: Truong Ba Vinh

We met Tam at a workshop on bamboo and solar power for sustainable tourism in Hanoi. Tam said he was operating the Thanh Tam Bamboo Eco park, the largest eco-community in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, built for 1.2 trillion dong. Lasuco is applying hi-tech to sustainable and environmentally friendly production of bamboo as a new industry in Vietnam.

With numerous successes as an innovator, Le Van Tam was granted by the government the title of Labor Hero in the doi moi (renewal) period. He was also honored by Thanh Hoa as a talented businessman for his hundreds of scientific research projects which have been successfully applied in agricultural production in the province.

This year, Lasuco will celebrate its 40th anniversary, a significant milestone in the career of Le Van Tam. He hopes to build Lasuco into a leading agricultural corporation in Vietnam with a globally recognized brand

Labor hero Le Van Tam received many state awards, including Labor Medals of First, Second and Third Classes (1994, 2003, 2011, 2015); Third-class Resistance Medal awarded by the President (1991); the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Merit (1998, 2005, 2015). He was a deputy to the National Assembly during the VIIIth, IXth and Xth tenures.

Story: Bich Van - Photos: Tran Thanh Giang and Truong Ba Vinh

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