Tommy Le is a Vietnamese immigrant who came to Australia in 1987 after spending two years in a refugee camp in Thailand. His family’s tough journey has inspired Tommy and he has dedicated his adult life to helping other families like his.
“My aim is to share my knowledge so I can help more people. I am very lucky to have come to Australia at such a young age, attended school and learnt English,” Tommy said.
“Others are not so lucky and need a lot more help acclimating to the new culture and working to provide for their families.”
Tommy’s commitment to his community was celebrated last year as he won the Syngenta Growth Award for Community and People.
Building a positive image for the Vietnamese farming community is important for Tommy and he is trying to develop a brand for them across both the Australian agricultural industry and the Australian consumer networks.
For the last two years, Tommy has worked tirelessly developing and marketing a new niche tribal cucumber variety, which is delivering premium returns for his growers. He worked closely with Syngenta in the seed development process and now is building capacity amongst his growers.
“My aim is to support the community in achieving the highest possible value for their products so that they can support their families,” Tommy said.
Tommy provides his growers with technical agronomy support and, through his own company, LT Fresh, he helps procure greenhouse equipment and supplies to keep their operations up and running. He also provides business advice to ensure they’re operating efficiently and profitably.
“We’re starting to get traction with the new range. I’ve been focusing on marketing and have some great opportunities in the works, and I’m also working on finding more growers to meet the increase in demand. We’re hoping to slowly build scale.”
Currently, tribal cucumbers are on shelves in quality grocers and IGA supermarkets across Queensland. Tommy also works closely with wholesale marketing agents to see it stocked in bigger supermarkets in Queensland and New South Wales.
“The variety delivers what consumers are looking for,” Tommy says. “It gives better taste, crunch and shelf life. The tribal cucumber has a smaller seed cavity allowing for less oxidation, so it doesn’t go bad as quickly and there’s less waste.”
Tommy is going full steam ahead with all of his projects, including his cucumber production. He is also continually developing his agronomy work with EE Muir and Sons, as well as providing equipment for growers through LT Fresh. But above all else, Tommy’s focus is on supporting his Vietnamese growing community and their families.