(PLO)- It is considered a gold mine of the agricultural industry with a volume of up to 158 million tons/year, but agricultural by-products have not been fully exploited.
According to experts, agricultural by-products are still being calculated and processed at a low level despite the very high visibility, which can bring in billions of dong in revenue, adding significant economic value to the products that the enterprises (DN) are engaged in production.
Collect billions from “garbage” of plants
After more than a year of successfully harvesting pineapple silk fibers from discarded pandan leaves, the enterprise of Mr. Nguyen Huu Hanh (Nghe An), Production Director of Eco Fiber Research and Development and Production Joint Stock Company (Ecosoi), has brought its products to the West. Many valuable and potential orders from the international market began to pour in.
Mr. Nguyen Huu Hanh (left) next to Ecosoi’s pineapple silk press machine. Photo: THU HA
According to Mr. Hanh, before starting his business, he witnessed farmers having to spend a lot of time and money on processing pandan leaves after harvesting pineapples, even using herbicides or burning… impact on soil quality and environment. This fact made him think of using pandan leaves as a textile material like the way many advanced countries are doing.
A pandan leaf separator costs VND 50 million, but every day can process 3 tons of pandan leaves, with the labor of 20 people. For every 100 kg of pandan leaves, 5 kg of raw fiber can be made, the selling price is 800,000 VND/kg. Normally, each hectare of pineapples, after 18 months, he earns 350 million VND from selling the fruit. Instead of burning, farmers get another 60-70 million dong from pandan leaves.
In addition, while spinning, the flesh in pandan leaves is used by the company to incubate with microorganisms to make organic fertilizer for plants. That’s how to make the most of the pineapple’s life cycle.
Spinning pineapple silk yarn and textile products made from recycled yarn by-products
Ms. Vu Thi Lieu, co-founder of Ecosoi, added that pineapple silk will definitely be a great benefit in the agricultural industry when in the garment sector alone, businesses are urgently looking for green and sustainable raw materials. This is also the demand of many fastidious markets such as Europe, Japan, etc.
“The demand for greening in the fashion industry is being directed, especially by famous brands. To be fair, pineapple fiber is superior to cotton yarn but not as good as silk or hemp yarn, the plus point is that it is environmentally friendly. In Europe, pineapple fiber is used to make leather goods at a very high price. Therefore, in the coming time, we will launch industrial yarn reels to meet the needs of garment enterprises “- Ms. Lieu informed.
Ecosoi products are being well received and appreciated by the UK market for their quality. The unit is continuing to research more products to add value to this agricultural by-product. At the moment, Ecosoi produces 2-3 tons of yarn/month, in 2023 is estimated to increase output to 7-8 tons/month to meet market demand.
Agricultural by-products are not only a challenge in Vietnam but also in many other countries on the road to industrialization, modernization and towards a circular economy. This is an abundant source of raw materials, with low cost, low transportation cost, but the finished product value as well as production growth is relatively high. This field is an opportunity for many businesses, especially young ones with little capital, who want to start a business in the future.
AssocDHONG THINH THINH
Also taking advantage of agricultural by-products, the story of Mr. Ly Minh Hung, the first person in Dong Nai to research and successfully organize the production of dried banana peels for export to Europe, surprised many people.
“I read a lot and know that some farmers in the US, India and Japan have processed banana peels into useful products for the community. I wondered, I live in the banana capital, the raw materials are available, there is no shortage of workers, why waste resources “- Mr. Hung shared.
In fact, dried banana peels are being used by many countries around the world to make handicrafts such as wicker baskets, chairs, etc. or used in making paper.
In early February 2021, the first container of dried banana peels was packaged for export to Europe. By the end of June, enterprises had exported eight shipments with a total volume of up to 20 tons.
Surprised with products from seafood by-products
Meanwhile, in the field of seafood, Mr. Truong Vinh Thanh, Deputy General Director of Sao Mai Group (An Giang), also said that his unit is one of the pioneering enterprises in applying technology for deep processing of additives. pangasius products.
Accordingly, DN has created high-quality cooking oil and high-quality shortening and margarine made from fish fat using the world’s leading modern technology. Products are not only well received in the country, but also highly appreciated by foreign customers.
Mr. Thanh analyzed raw fish fat with an average price of about 16,000 VND/kg, after refining into high-grade cooking oil, the average selling price is about 46,000 VND/liter; The average selling price of shortening and margarine is 30,000 VND/kg while the processing loss is less than 3%.
“Thus, about 1.2 million tons of raw pangasius per year of the Mekong Delta is equivalent to nearly 200,000 tons of fish fat. If all are processed into cooking oil and shortening, margarine, the total revenue will be more than 7,000 billion VND”, – Mr. Thanh gave an amazing figure.
Not to mention that pangasius meal is also bringing in great revenue when used as raw materials for animal feed production. Looking higher, there are eight essential amino acids in pangasius meat, if advanced technology is applied, it can be processed into protein solution or hydrolyzed protein powder to make functional foods or produce seasoning seeds. not less than 200,000 VND/kg.
This position assessed that if the source of aquatic by-products in general and pangasius in particular were applied high technology for deep processing, it would create new products with breakthroughs, outstanding value, and obtained value as well. will reach billions of dollars. Therefore, this is considered a gold mine for the seafood industry.
Not easy to exploit
Although agricultural by-products are still potential gold mines, the industry still faces many challenges, especially in terms of technology and capital.
A representative of an enterprise specializing in exporting dried fruits to European and Southeast Asian markets acknowledged that the reuse of agricultural by-products is the trend of the circular economy. Although this industry has a high vision, not all units can meet it.
“Although we know that the fruit peels after processing can be composted into organic fertilizer, we cannot do so because of the lack of technology, capital, human resources, management capacity… so these by-products still have to be discarded. “- this person shared.
From the perspective of a veteran enterprise, Mr. Truong Vinh Thanh admitted that in order to exploit the value from agricultural by-products, it is necessary to have creativity and put gray matter into the product. Therefore, in this field technology is the decisive factor and the investment cost is not small.
“Very few banks will accept capital financing for new product investment projects due to many risks. Not to mention, after the product is available, the trade is also a problem that consumes a lot of energy “- Mr. Thanh pondered.
According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dinh Trong Thinh, a financial and economic expert, the authorities need to widely propagate the reuse efficiency of agricultural by-products, and need to support people to promote the application of science and technology. , machinery and technology for the collection, treatment and processing of agricultural by-products to create many products with high economic value. In addition, mechanisms for capital support, business organizations, and production lines also need to be taken into account, if they want to move towards a circular economy in the future.
Abundant source of agricultural by-products
According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the total volume of by-products in our country is now more than 158 million tons, of which up to 88.9 million tons of by-products are harvested from crops, from the processing of agricultural products of the growing industry. crops, 61.4 million tons of cattle and poultry manure from the livestock industry.
If in advanced countries, agricultural by-products are processed into many products such as fertilizers, colorants, aquaculture, etc., in Vietnam, so far agricultural by-products have not been utilized. not yet fully implemented.