In the Mekong Delta with coconuts (2011)

In 2011 I spent almost 3 weeks in Vietnam, north and south. The first stop was Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, where the team I worked with looked into a number of schemes designed to clean up (“to green”) industrial production. The delta is a giant rice paddy, dotted with small farms and dense with coconut palms. There are a thousand ways to use coconuts I discovered…

A small coconut charcoal factory

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Meeting the director and drinking coconut milk

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On the way to work through the narrow backstreets

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The team outside a factory, Ben Tre province

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Guided tour of a coconut sweet factory

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Preparing and packing the sweets for export to China

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On the shop floor, where most of the workers as well as the factory bosses were women

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Shipment of coconuts on a barge ready for discharge at a mat factory

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Cutting and spraying the coconut mats

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Dispatch warehouses with the finished products

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After several days in the delta region, the team spent a couple of nights in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), where we had arranged meetings with various officials. We stayed in a skyscraper hotel overlooking the river, with some great views. Bustling is probably the best word to describe HCMC as it is called, with an estimated 8.5 million inhabitants, the majority of whom own motorscooters…

View of the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City

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