Lavender Oil in Vietnam
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: John Hallett
Posted on: September 24, 2006

I am an Australian living in Vietnam in an area where the climate is mild averaging 20 degrees Celsius. We have lots of cheap land and labour and I am wanting to know what return per hectare I should get from growing lavender for oil.

I am currently on vacation. This means I don’t have my large dBase to draw a best responses at this time. However, I have personally grown 42 acres of lavender, but have never been to Vietnam. My physics background kept me stateside, making weapons. That’s why I went into farming.

With those understandings, here is what I know and remember. French production of all three forms of lavender is Vietnam is so far away from France as to possibly have different advantages. That’s unknown. For a detailed yield be hectare I would need my own writings or Gunther’s classic 6-volume set called "Essential Oils." c1936

While out-of-print, most libraries have this important set of references, both they and my own crop report on these products are at home. I will be returning home October 2nd, so if you can’t find them, write me back for a more detailed response. I will also say that orange mint (Mentha citrata) has a far greater yield (2.6x) the lavandin to any of the lavenders per hectare.

It is also easy to harvest, mostly taken as a green-chop, whereas lavender needs to be cut more by hand for oil productions. I would think the flower petals might be a larger market in that region of the world, used for cosmetics and the floral trade (potpourri). The actual hectare yields may be in other earlier postings on this crop at this site.

The seven successful lavender farms in North America all grow it for their Bed-and-Breakfast situations. Then old ladies and visitors can walk the grounds, enjoying the smells and variations of various cultivars. They then manufacture various cottage industries, such as Lavender wands and other high-labor efforts.

There are a number of other crops, mostly dealing with semi-tropical and tropical spices which might offer much higher yield returns toward your farming efforts. Nutmegs, Tung Hing forms of Cinnamon, and hot Chili Peppers are very high markets in that part of the world. Today they are also one of the larger Medicinal Mushroom producers (like Maitake and Reishe).

I am available to help you determine more suitable crops for the soils and markets, as time and need permits. I just wished I could give you a better sense of what to grow, as Tai Food styles of cooking now seem to dominate most of the world. Lemon Grass and Galangal Root are in demand in this part of the world, as an import. Australia is also wide open for newer spice products.

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