Organic supply chain
The purpose of the supply chain project is to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with local farmers in the area around the lodge. Previously, produce used in the lodge restaurant was purchased at the market in Sapa. However, it was impossible for our staff to monitor the amount and type of fertilizer and pesticides used. By working with local farmers and produce suppliers, we can regulate fertilizer and pesticide use and move towards serving wholly organic produce. Furthermore, in line with the eco-concept applied throughout the entire Topas Explorer Group, we can begin to develop a network of local suppliers as part of our commitment to community development.
At present, we are working with three different farmers – all within a radius of 15 km – and a rice husker. Over time, we plan to expand the project and negotiate contracts with more local farmers.
The vegetable farm
We have signed a contract with a local family to supply all our cabbage and chayote. The family owns a small holding of agricultural land located 500 meters from the Topas Ecolodge entrance in the direction of Thanh Kim where they raise a small number of pigs and chickens and tend to several rice and vegetables fields.
The fruit farm
The fruit farm is also located close to Thanh Phu, on a hilltop similar to the one at Topas Ecolodge. It belongs to a former employee of the lodge and her husband who bought a few hectares of land and started growing oranges, lemons and guava. They now supply and deliver all our lemons and oranges, which are grown pesticide free and use only ecological fertilizer which the couple make themselves from grass and manure.
The chicken farm
The chicken farm is situated outside of Thanh Phu, a village 15km from the lodge in the direction of Nam Cang. The farm has a beautiful location on the side of a mountain with views of the valley below. The chickens live free range, away from the dust and dangers of the road. The farm produces the local specialty mountain chicken which is somewhat chewier in texture than standard chicken and is very popular amongst Vietnamese people.
The family also provide accommodation and a number of staff from Topas Ecolodge live with them. At the lodge we have our own small chicken farm where we keep around 20 chickens bought from the nearby farm that we use to offer our special mountain chicken dinner. The chicken farm is located between the laundry house and bungalow 101.
All the rice served at Topas Ecolodge is produced in the valley between Ban Ho and Nam Cang, mainly in the Thanh Phu area. We employ the services of a middleman, who buys rice from small local farms and sells it to us so we can ensure the rice is only from the local area and is of consistently high quality. While there are many rice fields in the immediate vicinity of the lodge, only a few of these produce rice of high enough quality for us to use in our restaurant.